Cooking with Stout: Marinades, Beans, and Dessert

Cooking with Beer by | Sep 2017 | Issue #128

Adding coffee or chocolate flavors to a dish can be accomplished with a seemingly endless number of ingredients—coffee beans or grounds, or liquid, cacao nibs, powder, and extracts. Using Stout as an ingredient in beer cuisine adds some of these same flavor compounds, while also introducing different textures (from a beer’s attenuation and ingredients), flavor profiles by style, and alcohol percentages, thanks to the imagination of today’s brewers. The wide variety of style interpretations—Russian Imperial Stout, Dry Irish Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Milk Stout—offer a cornucopia of options to the creative chef. Use these recipes as building blocks to create your own feast. From marinades and side dishes to a jam and a dessert, they all have one thing in common: Stout.

Thai Stout Marinade
This marinade is easy to make and packed full of flavor. An Oatmeal Stout’s roast and coffee notes marry well with soy sauce and miso, while the oats smooth out the more assertive ingredients, like lime juice, fish sauce, and onion. Try using this marinade on chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or tempeh, then grill the protein and serve with an Asian-inspired salad, cold noodles, or steamed jasmine rice.

Makes: 16 ounces

2 tbsp ginger, fresh, chopped fine or grated on a microplane
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp white miso
1 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, black or regular, whole, peeled
1 yellow onion, small, peeled and chopped
12 oz Oatmeal Stout, such as Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
2 oz lime juice

In the pitcher of a blender, add the ginger, soy sauce, miso, fish sauce, salt, garlic, onion, Oatmeal Stout, and lime juice. Blend on high and allow a minute for all the ingredients to emulsify together. Taste the marinade, ensuring all flavors are balanced.

Using the Marinade
Pour into a sealable container and add your choice of protein (like chicken, pork, duck, or turkey). Toss to coat, seal, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to two days in advance of cooking. For a vegetarian or vegan option, substitute tofu, tempeh, eggplant, squash, or Portobello mushrooms.

To use the marinade as a sauce, pour into a medium saucepan and cook for about 10 minutes, thickening it slightly. Grill, roast, or sauté the protein until cooked, basting with the Thai Stout Sauce. Serve the final dish with a spoonful of sauce.

Tangerine Thyme Stout Marinade
This marinade combines a Stout’s roast coffee flavors with the essence of orange or tangerine. Adding thyme to the mix contributes a soft herbal undertone, and the finished marinade is wonderful on chicken, pork, duck, and turkey.

Makes: 16 ounces

2 tangerines, roughly chopped and seeds removed (oranges or blood oranges can be substituted)
8 sprigs thyme, French, lemon, or silver
1 tsp kosher salt
12 oz American Stout, such as Deschutes Obsidian Stout

Add the citrus, thyme, salt, and American Stout to the pitcher of a blender. Purée the ingredients.

Using the Marinade
Place the marinade in a sealable container, then add your choice of meat (try chicken, pork, duck, or turkey) and toss to fully coat the protein. Seal and refrigerate for 2 – 24 hours. For a vegetarian or vegan option, use this marinade with sliced tofu, tempeh, Portobello mushroom caps, or eggplant.

After marinating, remove the protein and cook, grill, or roast until done. To create a sauce out of the Tangerine Thyme Stout Marinade, add the reserved soaking liquid to a medium saucepot over medium heat. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes to cook out any pathogens and thicken the sauce slightly. Serve alongside the protein with some mashed or roasted potatoes, noodles, rice, or other starch.

Stout and Smoked Ham Hock Black Beans
When smoke meets Stout, the earthy, complementary flavors of coffee and roast result in pure decadence. Add black beans to this equation and you get a great side dish that can be served with most items from a grill, smoker, or oven.

Serves: 8 – 10 guests

1 lb black beans, dried, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 ham hock, smoked and cut into 4–5 pieces
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
1 yellow onion, medium, peeled and chopped
1 leek, cut in half lengthwise and chopped
1 head garlic, cut in half
1 tbsp white miso
1 quart water
12 oz Oatmeal Stout, such as Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout
2 tbsp oil, or rendered fat (bacon or pork)
2 yellow onions, medium, peeled and sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp soy sauce
kosher salt to taste

Wash and rinse the dried black beans. Place into a container and cover with enough water to hydrate the beans overnight (they will double in size).

While the beans soak, make a stock to add more flavor to the finished bean dish. In a large pot, add the smoked ham hock, carrots, celery, bay leaves, onions, leeks, garlic, miso, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low, keeping the stock at a simmer. Cook for 2 hours, allowing the vegetables to season the water and the ham hock to tenderize. Strain the stock into another pot, discarding the vegetables, while saving the meat. Shred the reserved meat into small pieces and add back to the stock.

Drain and rinse the beans one more time and add them to the ham hock stock, along with the Stout. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, while keeping the beans at a simmer. Cook for 2 hours, or until beans are tender, but not falling apart.

While the beans are cooking, caramelize the onions. In a medium pan over low heat, add the oil or rendered fat and toss in the onions and bay leaves. Sprinkle with some salt and stir occasionally, allowing the onions to slowly cook for about an hour, making them extra sweet. Once cooked, add onions to the simmering black beans. Next, add the soy sauce and check the tenderness of the beans. If squeezed, they should begin to give under a little pressure. Season with salt to taste and continue to cook the beans until done.

Transfer beans to a sealable container, and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Beans, like a good chili or stew, get better as they sit overnight, allowing all the flavors to combine and mellow. Serve the beans hot or cool.

Blackberry Vanilla Oatmeal Stout Jam
When combined with the sweet tartness of blackberries, an Oatmeal Stout like Ninkasi Vanilla Oatis adds vanilla essences while maintaining its smooth coffee, cocoa, and chocolate finish. This recipe brings these flavors together in a jam that can be used on a cheese board, swirled into a blackberry ice cream for an incredible ripple, or used with a nut butter to update the classic PB&J sandwich.

Makes: 1 pint

12 oz Oatmeal Stout with vanilla, such as Ninkasi Vanilla Oatis
2 cup blackberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup organic sugar
1 pinch kosher salt

In a thick-bottomed saucepot, add the Oatmeal Stout (if not using an Oatmeal Stout with vanilla, add a split vanilla bean, too), blackberries, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Place over medium heat and slowly cook the mixture, stirring periodically, until the volume reduces to 2 cups or 1 pint. This will take 30 – 45 minutes, until the blackberries break down and the beer transforms into a caramel-like sauce. Transfer the jam to a wide mouth canning jar and allow to cool. Seal and refrigerate.