Beer is a great marinating liquid base as it does an awesome job imparting its own flavour while also helping the other marinade spices infuse with the meat. It is fun to play around with beer based marinades and to get started, simply pick a beer that you think will match up will with your meal and use it in your favourite marinade recipe. Below, I used a dark lager from Central City Brewing to add dark roasted malt flavours into some chicken breasts and to add more flavour to a basic homemade cheese sauce.
Marinade: Prep 2-4 hours in advance
- 1 cup of craft dark lager beer (or any craft lager beer), about 2/3 of a can or bottle
- One pinch of dried bay leaves, thyme, sea salt, and cumin
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 moderately flattened chicken breasts
At least 2-4 hours in advance, check to see if your chicken breasts are too thick to roll, if so flatten with a meal mallet prior to marinating. Combine all ingredients into an air tight bag, add in chicken breasts and move around until all surfaces of the meat are equally covered in the liquid. Seal and let sit in the fridge for two to four hours.
Chicken Cordon Beer:
- 4 slices of Blue Sky Ranch Back Bacon
- 2 marinated chicken breasts
- ½ cup Panko crumbs
- 1 farm pastured egg
Step 1 – Preheat oven to 375ºF and prepare a baking sheet with tinfoil and light coating of cooking spray or oil.
Step 2 – Prep two separate bowls, one of panko crumbs and one with a beaten egg in it.
Step 3 – Place chicken breasts on a cutting board or plat, lay them flat and place 2 slides of back bacon on each breast, covering each with grated cheese.
Step 4 – Roll the chicken breasts lengthwise until all of the meat and cheese is centered in the middle.
Step 5 – Dip the rolled chicken breasts in the egg mixture and ensure all of the meat has been covered. Repeat this in the Panko crumbs until every bit of the meat is coated.
Step 6 – Cook for 30 minutes at 375ºF and be sure to check that the internal temperature in the middle reaches 165ºF on a meat thermometer.
Beer Cheese Sauce:
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/3 cup half and half
- Remaining beer (about 1/3 cup)
- 2/3 cup of shredded cheddar
- Pinch of salt and pepper
Step 1 – About 10 minutes before the chicken is finished cooking, bring a small cooking pot up to medium temperature on your stovetop and melt 1 tbsp of butter in it.
Step 2 – As soon as the butter melts, add 1 tbsp of flour and combine immediately. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly and keeping the mixture together so it doesn’t burn or brown.
Step 3 – Add the beer and half and half cream to the pot. Be sure to stir constantly with a whisk until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble. If you did this step and the previous step correctly, the sauce will be smooth, thick and creamy without any lumps in it.
Step 4 – Turn off the burner, remove the sauce from the heat, add cheese and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 5 – When the chicken cordon beer is done, serve the beer cheese sauce on top of it and enjoy your meal!
The author Terry Hickey is a craft beer enthusiast who is also the owner/operator of the West Coast Beer Geek Beer Blog who has more recently become a big fan of sustainably and ethically raised meat.
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