October 28, 2016 –- Beer is a wonderful addition to many dishes and we’ve used it often so we were intrigued when we heard that Samuel Adams had teamed up with the guys from Carnal, a Brooklyn-based union of Kentucky slow cooking BBQ with New York eclecticism, to create a handful of fall-focused dishes infused with the flagship seasonal brew, Octoberfest.
So we have three recipes for you, and we have to admit that these do not fall into the “dinner in five minutes” category. But if you find a challenge in the kitchen relaxing and don’t mind messing around for an inordinate amount of time to prepare, say, a sauce, these recipes are for you. Each recipe includes and pairs perfectly with an Octoberfest beer, which is available nationally through November. Just a note of encouragement: We made “Beecher’s Cheese Curd Pork and Beef Burgers with Boston Lager Serrano Chili BBQ Dipping Sauce” featuring Boston Lager for Labor Day and it turned out beautifully. We still have some sauce in the freezer, which we’ll use to cook some chicken thighs in the oven very soon.
Pork Shoulder Slow-poached in Octoberfest with Apple & Thyme
The caramel notes of Octoberfest pair nicely with tart apple and tender pork
2 bottles of Octoberfest
½ of whole bone-in pork shoulder
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
12 sprigs of fresh thyme
28 oz of apple cider
3.5 oz of apple cider vinegar
2 gala apples
Salt to taste
– Have your butcher quarter a whole pork shoulder. One quarter should be plenty for 6-8 people. In a large stock pot, add the pork shoulder, coarsely chopped onion and crushed garlic cloves. Add the beer and enough apple cider to completely cover the meat. Tie up the fresh thyme with twine or cheesecloth and add to the liquid. Bring to a simmer, ensuring it does not boil. Cover and simmer for 3-4 hours, until the pork falls apart easily. Strain the liquid and reserve. Allow the meat to cool before picking off the bone. Sort through the meat, discarding large chunks of fat, connective tissue, onions and garlic.
– In a mixing bowl season the pork that has been pulled from the bone. Add some of the cooking liquid so the pork is “wet” but not submerged. Season with vinegar and salt to taste. The vinegar is meant to balance the fattiness of the meat. Line a square or rectangular mold with plastic wrap and arrange the pulled, seasoned meat in one even layer. The thickness can vary from 1 ¼”-2”. Cover the pork with another layer of plastic wrap and weigh down the mixture as it cools in the refrigerator. Ideally, the weight should be the same shape so it cools in an even layer. The collagen present in the meat is converted into gelatin, which allows the pulled pork to cool in a specific shape. Chill for a minimum of two hours. It can then be cut into cubes to be easily served as a small bite before a meal.
– Garnish – Dice the apples with skin still on into medium-sized, even chunks. Heat bacon fat in a sauté pan until almost smoking. Add the apples in an even layer, careful not to cause a flare up. Allow one side of the apples to deeply caramelize, while still remaining raw. Add a splash of cider vinegar to deglaze. Cool the apples on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Season with chopped fresh thyme and salt. Spoon the apples on to each portion of the pork terrine on a serving tray.
Twice-fried Potatoes with Octoberfest Mustard Sauce
Potatoes, mustard and a malty beer sauce make for a balanced German appetizer
12 Yukon gold potatoes
½ of a white onion
Half a stick of butter
1/4 cup of sifted all-purpose flour
4 bottles of Octoberfest
3.5 oz of Dijon mustard
1 oz of toasted mustard seed
Salt to taste
Melt the butter over medium heat, add finely diced onions and cook until soft. Whisk in the flour to create a roux and cook until fully incorporated. Add the beer, whisking to dissolve any lumps of flour. Adjust the sauce to desired consistency with more beer or vegetable stock as needed. It should have a similar viscosity to fondue. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh chinois to achieve a smooth and creamy finished product. Whisk in the Dijon, ground toasted mustard seed, chili flake and salt to taste.
Potatoes – Chop potatoes into large, even chunks. Diner home fries are good as a comparison reference. Bring the potatoes up to a simmer in cold water, ensuring to not boil them. Simmer the potatoes until soft but not falling apart, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool completely, dabbing with a towel to dry. In a deep fryer, cook potatoes for 8 minutes at 300F. They should be fully cooked but without color. Drain the excess oil off the potatoes on a sheet tray lined with paper towel. Cool thoroughly before frying again, this time at 375F for 3 minutes or until golden. Season immediately with salt and more chili flake, if desired. Serve warm Octoberfest mustard sauce on the side.
Roasted Beef & Octoberfest Jus
Reduced Octoberfest highlights the burnt raisin qualities to complement roasted meat
1/3 oz of tomato paste
14 oz of beef trim (neck bones, shoulder, etc.)
1 bottle of Octoberfest
28 oz of unsalted beef stock
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
2/3 oz of sherry vinegar
Freshly cracked black pepper
Salt to taste
Corn starch (if necessary)
In a wide saucepan, caramelize the beef trim in oil over high heat. Any cheap beef cut may be used, with or without any bone still attached. It is necessary that it be cut into small pieces to ensure optimum searing on all sides. When the beef is roasted with nice color, remove from the pan. Reduce the heat and add the thinly sliced shallots. Sauté until brown then add the tomato paste. Cook the shallots and tomato paste together until the raw scent is gone and a fond is produced. Add a whole bottle of Octoberfest to deglaze the pan. Cook the beer on high until fully reduced, which will concentrate its flavor. Return the beef trim to the pan along with beef stock and fresh thyme. Simmer the sauce over medium-high heat, skimming off surface impurities as they develop. Once reduced by half, strain through a fine mesh chinois and season with plenty of cracked black pepper, sherry vinegar and salt to taste. The finished sauce should coat a spoon. If it does not, whisk in a corn starch and water slurry until desired thickness is achieved.