As I mentioned in my previous post, we have been on a bit of a mission to use all the food we have around the house to make our meals. It’s a rather fun challenge for me as I enjoy cooking immensely. In my opinion, the most creatively satisfying meal you can make is one that was produced using a limited selection of ingredients. You can certainly plan ahead, go shopping, and create a masterpiece – this is how everyone cooks – but there is definitely something extremely satisfying about making due with what you have. When you are stuck searching through you fridge and cupboards, you often need to come up with combinations that you might not have done before, which in turn gives birth to new ideas for the future. Countless meals that I now make are derivatives of meals I’ve made on the fly; I’m convinced this is the best way to cook and the best way to have fun. Over this past week, I’ve discovered quite a lot of gems in my freezer and cupboards, not to mention having a small herb garden also helps greatly. Luckily, my beer cooler was full, so finding beercompanions for my dishes was not a problem.
Beef tenderloin is expensive, but if you buy it in bulk from Costco, it can be pretty reasonable. I often buy a batch and freeze most of it, thawing out pieces for Genee and I when we need it. I threw a couple of steaks in the fridge to thaw a couple of days ago and they were now ready to go. Like wine, red meat generally goes well with darker, heavier beers. I decided to go with Trois Pistoles by Unibrew. It’s a rich, bold, and spicy dark Belgian ale that will nicely compliment my thick rare steak. Unibrew is probably the most widely available craft beer found in Quebec, every Couche Tard stocks their products. I really didn’t have much else going on in the fridge, but I was able to find an old bag of carrots and a zucchini that was in perfect condition. I decided to peel the carrots, cut them lengthwise and saute them with butter and sage. If you have yet to try browned butter and sage, you should should really get on that – it is a wonderful combination. I like doing zucchini on the BBQ, grilling them until they are nicely caramelized on the outside, but keeping a nice crunch in the middle. I marinated them in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar before hand.
As I am preparing dinner is generally when I like to open a bottle. It’s the only way I can usually find the time to take some notes and some pictures. I popped open this dark Belgian ale and poured it into my Orval goblet. It poured out a velvety dark brown color with some red cherry-wood highlights. A nice one finger of head rested on top, lingering for quite a while. Aromas are predominately spicy and fruity, with loads of raisins, prunes, and strawberries. There is also a certain yeast funk to it, mixed with lots of cardamon, cinnamon and cloves. When sipping, I get lots of intense fruity sugars up front, followed by nutmeg and some cinnamon. There are some chocolate elements from the dark roasted malt as well. Finishes with some sourness, alcohol and a light bitterness.
As the carrots were simmering in the sage and butter, I threw the thick pieces of Beef tenderloin onto the grill. I had seasoned them with a hefty amount of coarsely ground black pepper and some smoked salt. I also found a few green onions in the fridge, so I threw them on the hot grill to get them caramelized with some slight char. I chopped some chives to sprinkle over the top as well. Overall when all was done it made for quite a tasty meal. The veggies complimented the meat nicely and the charred onions added a nice tart sweetness. With each bite I conservatively sipped the rich & spicy ale. The velvet consistency, mixed with dried fruit and spicy flavors acted as quite a fantastic compliment to the beef. The salts and general savory flavors of the beef brought out the sweetness in the beer, transforming it for a moment into something even richer and more robust, with red fruit really coming to light, and loads of caramel and chocolate distributed over my palate.
Overall a very quick and fun cooking experience that was nicely complimented buy a beer from one of this countries oldest craft breweries.