Oct 5, 2007

The Session #8: Beer and Food

The Session Logo

For this month’s Session, we were all given the topic of beer and food. Whether that meant pairing a beer with a specific dish or cooking with your favorite brew, it was entirely open for interpretation.

While I pride myself on my grilling abilities, the real cook in the family is my wife. She knows how to treat my stomach right. Add to her cooking skills the fact that she also loves a great craft brew and you have yourself the perfect mate.

We’ve only ventured into cooking with beer on a few occasions. She’s made (and I’ve enjoyed) homemade Guinness bread, numerous desserts baked with an assortment of bourbons and marinades that meld spirits with spicy seasonings. While we typically only cook with bourbon, there is a beer related recipe that gets my insides all excited whenever she brings it up.

Newcastle Pot Roast


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 12 cups sliced onion (about 1.5 pounds)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (4 pound) beef rump roast, trimmed
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bottle Newcastle
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch


  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. To prepare pot roast, melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; saute 12 minutes or until almost tender. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 40 minutes or until onions are caramelized, stirring frequently. Transfer onions to a bowl.
  3. Place pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle roast with 1½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add onion mixture, broth, thyme, and beer to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover and bake at 300° for 2 hours or until tender, turning over halfway during cooking time.
  4. Remove roast from pan. cover and keep warm. Place pan over medium-high heat. Add cornstarch to pan, stirring with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Serve roast with potatoes or your favorite side dish.

I believe that she got the recipe out of a magazine some time back, but has since changed things around a bit to accommodate our own personal tastes and preferences. It’s pretty good with Newcastle, but you can easily swap out your own favorite brown ale to make it a unique dish.

But Wait, There’s More

As an added bonus, I’ve decided to share my own little culinary concoction — created with the creative input from my father-in-law. This is a wholly original creation that was thrown together last year right before Thanksgiving dinner. We had just brought the bird in from off the grill when, to everyone’s horror, we realized we had no gravy. Luckily, I thought to collect the drippings just in case.

As a big bourbon fan (that’s another project in the making) I’m a firm believer in the adage that a little bourbon can go a long way when cooking. The spirit has just the right flavor make up to compliment just about any dish (especially meats and desserts). So without further adieu, here is my “Turkey Gravy with Bourbon”.

Turkey Gravy with Bourbon


  • ¾ cup turkey drippings
  • ¼ all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • pepper


  1. Combine ingredients. Stir until smooth.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring.

So there you have it. Here are two great recipes perfect for the cooling Autumn/Winter months and in time for Thanksgiving dinner, you know, just in case you “accidentally” forget to pick up the gravy in a last minute run to the store. Enjoy.