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Archive for April, 2012

Beer-Braised Oxtail Tacos

Even if you don’t consider yourself a Yelp-crazed foodie, you may have noticed a resurgence of “odd bits” on local menus. Comparable to beef tongue, cheeks, and  tripe, oxtail holds a tasty place outside most people’s comfort zones.  And while they’re more commonly used to create flavorul stocks and stews, we’re putting them to good use in a San Diego favorite – the street taco.

Preparing oxtail isn’t difficult, it just takes time (9-10hrs). Well-prepared, oxtail is rich, tender,  and flavorful. If undercooked,  it will have the texture of a chew toy. So, if you’re a patient master of the crock pot, this recipe should be right up your alley.

Beer-Braised Oxtail Tacos

What you’ll need:
3lbs Oxtail
 
Dry-Rub:
Combine the following ingredients in a mixing bowl.
¼ Cup chili powder
1 Tbs. salt
1 Tbs. cumin
1 Tbs.  garlic powder
1 Tsp.  black pepper
½ Tsp. cayenne pepper
½ Tsp. cinnamon
 
Browning:
Large Frying Pan
½ Cup all-purpose flour
½ Cup butter

 
Cooking:
6-qt Crock Pot
1 22oz bottle Off The Rails
1 cup chicken stock
1 large white onion, chopped
2 celery stocks, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 serrano chili, seeded/chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt
Pepper

Serving:
Corn tortillas
Chopped white onion
Chopped cilantro
Lime
Salsa verde or habanero hot sauce

 
What to do:
Rinse oxtails in cold water and pat dry.

Coat oxtails in dry rub, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Melt butter in a large skillet, dust oxtails in flour, and brown for 2-3 minutes on each side. When oxtails are golden brown, remove from skillet and reserved on a plate.

Add onions, celery, carrots, peppers, and garlic to the skillet and sauté on high until onions are golden brown. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to the crock pot, adding the chicken stock and bottle of Off The Rails to the remaining vegetables in the skillet. Bring to a gentle boil and remove from heat.

Arrange browned oxtails in a layer over the sautéed vegetables in the crock pot. Pour the warm liquid contents of the skillet over the oxtails, cover, and cook on low for 9-10hrs.

Once the oxtails have finished cooking, meat should easily fall away from the bones.

Suggested beer pairing: Tower 20 IIPA – T-20′s dry hop bitterness will cut through the oxtail’s rich flavors, while complementing the zesty lime and cilantro.


Wreck Alley Imperial Stout Crème Brûlée

Beer-infused Crème Brûlée?  Yes, well, it’s more like crem-brew-lay, but you get the gist. What started out as an off-the-wall idea three years ago has since turned into one of our favorite desserts.  Brewed with cocoa nibs and locally roasted Ethiopian coffee beans, Wreck Alley adds rich layers of dark chocolate and an espresso-like roast to this classic dessert.

Our Chefs Gunther and Corey, the masterminds behind this recipe, have earned a solid reputation with their drink beer/think food approach to cooking.  Continually pushing the craft beer and culinary envelope with their innovative methods, these two were recently selected to share their expertise at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego.

If you’re looking for something to pair with your after dinner Wreck Alley, give this recipe a try.   Also, look for this and other great beer-centric recipes in an upcoming craft beer cookbook by Chef’s Press, the publishers behind San Diego’s Top Brewers.

Wreck Alley Crème Brûlée

Ingredients
2 cups Wreck Alley Imperial Stout
4 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
12 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 shallow, oven-proof ramekins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place stout in pan, bring to a slow boil and reduce to a ¼ cup. Place cream in a non reactive pan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the cream.  The pod can be used as an additional flavor enhancer by adding it to the cream while heating, remove and discard before whisking. Heat cream and vanilla slowly until steaming.   When cream starts to steam remove from heat.  Do not boil the cream.  While the cream heats through, whisk together egg yolks and sugar with wire whisk until pale in color and sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour about ½ cup of the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture whisking quickly to temper the mixture. In a slow stream, add the remaining hot cream to the egg mixture while continuing to mix with the whisk.  Add the reduced stout to the brûlée mixture and mix well.  Divide the mixture evenly into six ramekins, placed in a deep baking dish.  Fill the baking pan with hot water about half way up the sides of the ramekins and place in a pre-heated oven to cook for 40 minutes or until just set. Check for doneness by gently shaking the ramekins;  the brûlée is finished baking when the edges are set/firm but the middle still jiggles a little. Place the ramekins in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to cool before serving.

Finishing:

Sprinkle the top of each brûlée with a thin layer of granulated sugar.  With a kitchen propane torch (available at most household supply retailers) point the flame onto the sugar and heat until it begins to melt and is deep golden brown color.

Or

Use the broiler setting of your oven to brown the sugar by placing the brûlée about an inch away under the broiler flame/heat source for 20 to 30 seconds. Check frequently to ensure even browning.

For an additional twist on this classic, add your favorite fruit like strawberries, raspberries or banana slices to brûlée. Gently insert fruit pieces by pressing them into the cold brûlée and follow the same finishing instructios above.