By Hayley Kappes
Killeen Daily Herald
Alcohol, that liquid delight, has long been used to unwind from a stressful day, enjoy over a meal or simply to kick back with at a bar or club.
Beer and wine are more than just spirited beverages. They make for great ingredients in countless numbers of dishes, according to the National Beer Wholesaler's Association, a trade association that represents the interests of more than 2,750 licensed, independent beer distributors.
Beer can substitute for wine and water in many recipes, adding a distinctive flavor, according to their Web site.
Lighter beers, such as pale ales and lagers, will thin batters and are delicious in bread and pancake recipes.
Steaming shellfish, mussels or shrimp in beer instead of water gives it a tangy taste that complements the saltiness of seafood. Beer also makes a wonderful marinade or sauce for grilling and roasting meats and vegetables.
NBWA.org has recipes using beer in everything from entrees, soups and desserts. The organization released a 75th Anniversary of Prohibition Repeal Cookbook that features their employee's favorite recipes.
Eve's Cafe in downtown Lampasas features dishes with wine as a key ingredient in its Friday night dinner special.
Owner Eve Hess-Sanchez, of Fulda, Germany, opened the cafe 15 years ago, and said the recipes are authentic German cuisine.
Some of the dishes featured include a white wine cream sauce with mushrooms and bacon served atop schnitzel.
"Wine thickens the sauce very nice," Hess-Sanchez said. "It's not overpowering, and gives a good overall flavor to the dish."
She said red wine sauces go better with heartier meats such as venison. White is a good option for seafood or lighter sauces.
Hess-Sanchez advised people who are unfamiliar with using wine in cooking to adhere to recipes, or experiment by using half the amount of wine the dish calls for and go from there with what tastes pleasing.
"I have never found anyone that didn't like any kind of dish where white or red wine was an ingredient," she said. "It's a fruity, bursting flavor that livens up the whole meal."
Contact Hayley Kappes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7559.
Hunter’s Chicken with Brown Ale
2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large whole chicken (about 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
1 large onion, halved and sliced
3/4 cup diced carrot
3/4 cup diced celery
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bottle (12 ounces) Brown Ale Beer
1 package (10 ounces) small mushrooms
2 cans (14.5 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained
4 sprigs rosemary
1 dried bay leaf
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
16 pitted olives
In large stock pot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Season chicken with half of the salt and half of the pepper; place in pan and brown in oil, in two batches if necessary, until golden, about 7 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to a plate.
To the same pan, add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add Brown Ale Beer and deglaze pan, scraping up browned bits. Let beer boil 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, rosemary and bay leaf. Return chicken to pot, partially cover pot with lid, reduce heat to medium low and cook 25 minutes.
Stir in bell peppers and olives and continue to cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear when pierced with fork. Stir in the remaining salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Nutrition information per serving: 710 calories; 39 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 20 grams carbohydrates
— National Beer Wholesalers Association, www.nbwa.org