Cooking With Real Ale

Summer's nearly upon us, so why not celebrate with some summer beer and a beer based barbecue recipe?
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Young’s London Gold is the latest offering from the London based brewery, and it's just in time for summer. It's a refreshing, floral and fruity light golden beer, as the name would suggest, and at 4.8% it's got a kick. The bottles carry the Red Tractor logo - a scheme set up as an assurance of quality, whereby food and ingredients can be traced right back to the farms they originated from and grown or reared to the highest standards. In fact, Young's were one of the first brewers to have their beers accredited by the scheme, as they use high quality English Maris Otter barley. It's an excellent addition to the Youngs range, which I happen to be a fan of, and if you are planning on getting some bottles in over the summer for a barbecue rather then venturing to the pub then this comes highly recommended.

Summer barbecues brings me to my next topic. Cooking. Specifically cooking with beer. Yes, you can drink it, you should drink plenty of it too, it's good for you but you can also cook with it, and I'm not just talking microwaved pub steak and ale pie. You can cook proper good food using beer, and you can cook proper food on a barbecue rather than faffing round with a few best buy burgers and sausages, something which irks me. Make the effort and it'll be appreciated by your guests, and they'll leave impressed.

The following recipes have been provided to Sabotage Times by Youngs, but if you can't get hold of any of the beers for whatever reason, you can easily substitute them for similar beers.

Spatchcocked Poussin with Beer and Ginger Marinade

Get out your barbecue and impress your mates with proper cooking. There are so many marinades you can use for barbecued chicken, this recipe makes the most succulent poussin. The acid in the beer marinade helps to tenderise the meat and add flavour.

Serves 4
Preparation time 25 minutes, plus marinating time
Cooking time : 25-30 minutes 4 poussin (buy ready spathcocked if prefered)

1 bottle Young’s Bitter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp clear honey
1 tsp paprika
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
2 star anise, crushed ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Sauce: 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp cornflour

To prepare the poussin, place a poussin breast side down, on a board for raw meat use. Using poultry shears or strong kitchen scissors, cut along each side of the backbone and remove it. Either snip the wishbone with the shears, or push down on the wishbone to snap it. Snip of any excess bits of skin, the wing tips and any other ragged bits. To keep them in shape insert wooden or short metal skewers through the bird, diagonally in a criss-cross shape. Place in a large glass or china dish.

For the marinade, pour the Young’s beer into a large jug, once it has settled, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together. Pour half of the marinade over the poussin reserving the rest for the sauce. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Bring the poussin out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Pour the marinade into a pan, boil rapidly until reduced to about 100ml, this will be used to baste the poussin while cooking.

To finish the sauce, strain the reserved marinade into a clean pan, add the tomato ketchup and sugar, bring to the boil. Blend the cornflour with a little water, stir into the sauce and simmer to thicken.

Prepare the barbecue, lightly oil the rack and place the poussin bone side down first. Grill for about 20 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes and brushing with the baste. Time to cook through will depend on size of the birds and intensity of the heat from the barbecue, should be approximately 15-20 minutes. Test by inserting the point of a small knife. Transfer to a serving platter.

Reheat the sauce before serving.

Spicy ( or Aromatic) Braised Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks need slow and long cooking to tenderise the meat. The flavour of the London Gold beer and its natural ingredients combined with gentle and warming spices will to make this an exceptionally tasty dish with a tang.

Serves 4
Preparation time : 25 minutes
Cooking time 2-3 hours

4 lamb shanks
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
3 cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 bottle Young’s London Gold
400 g can chopped tomatoes
400g can chickpeas, drained

Heat the oven to 170C/150Cfan/gas 3 Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the lamb shanks to the pan and turn and cook them over a medium heat for 10 minutes until browned. Transfer them to a large casserole.
Put the onion into the frying pan and cook gently for 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and carrots and cook 2 minutes, then add the ginger and spices, stir together for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato puree, the London Gold beer and the canned tomatoes. Bring to simmer and season with salt and pepper.

Pour over the lamb shanks and adjust so the meat part is mainly covered with the sauce. Cover and place in the oven, cook for 2 hours. Turn the lamb shanks over and add and add the chickpeas. Cover and return to the oven for a further 45 minutes- 1 hour, or until the lamb is very tender.

Lift each lamb portion onto a plate, skim off any fat from the surface of the sauce, then season if needed, and stir before spooning over the lamb.
Serve with rice or boiled or mashed potatoes.

Mussels in beer

Fresh Mussels cooked in beer with garlic and shallots are very simple and quick to cook – World Cup Half time and everything can be prepped before match starts.

Serves 2
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time : approx 12 minutes

1 kg fresh mussels
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ bottle Young’s London Gold
pinch sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

To prepare the mussels, put into a sinkful of cold water, throw away any that are broke or any than stay open when you tap them on a hard surface. Pull away the beards (the hairy bits between the shells). Scrub the shells and put into a colander, rinse with fresh cold water then drain well.

Heat the oil in a pan large enough to hold the mussels. Add the shallots and garlic and fry gently for 4-5 minutes until softened but not browned.
Add the beer and pinch sugar to the pan, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes.

Add the mussels, cover with a lid and cook, stirring frequently to make sure they are evenly cooked. This will only take a few minutes until the mussels have opened and are cooked. Remove any mussels that have not opened.

Spoon into warm serving bowls with the juices, sprinkle with parsley and serve with rustic bread or beer and cheese bread.