Endive-Avocado Salad with Creamy IPA Dressing
Cut apart four medium-sized Belgian endives into individual leaves and then diagonally into one-inch pieces. Peel and seed a ripe California avocado and cut into ½” cubes. Toss with a dressing made from one cup of creamy garlic dressing with ½ cup each of IPA and mayonnaise added. Serve on a leaf or two of Boston lettuce and top with grape tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes and garnish with a few rings of very finely sliced red onion and toasted pine nuts, along with a good crack of fresh ground black pepper. Beer Pairing: A balanced IPA such as Goose Island IPA, Anchor Liberty Ale or Brooklyn East India Pale Ale.
Chicken or Duck with Cherries and Kriek
Season cut-up bird with salt and pepper (if duck, leave the breast whole and deeply score the skin into 1” crosshatch), dust with flour and fry in a hot pan with some olive oil until well browned. Remove all the pieces, then add a tablespoon of flour to the pan, stir, then deglaze the pan with 6-8 ozs. of dry kriek such as Lakefront Rosie, Hannsen’s or Boon. Add the legs and thighs, cover and continue to cook for 15 minutes on low heat. Just before serving, add the breast pieces and a cup of fresh or frozen pitted sour cherries and a pinch of thyme, bring everything up to heat (breast meat should be 160°F for chicken, 150°F for duck), and serve over wide noodles or white rice. Beer pairing: the same kriek used in the recipe. Works equally well with a Belgian-style Tripel.
Porchetta (Roasted Sausage-Stuffed Pork Belly)
Simmer a piece of fresh (not cured) pork belly about 10” square in a bottle of brown ale or porter (not too hoppy) with water added to cover, for four hours. Remove, and slice layers apart to form two thinner slabs. Take a pound-and-a-half of Italian sausage or fresh kielbasa and form into log the same length as the belly, and place the two slabs around it and tie in four or five places with butcher’s string. Roast, with some of the poaching liquid in the pan, skin side up in a 375°F oven (325° on convection) for about an hour-and-a-half, or until the internal temperature of the sausage is 55°F. Remove, allow to rest 15 minutes. Slice into rounds and serve with a sauce made by thickening and deglazing the pan juice and if you’re feeling gluttonous, a bit of cream. Serve over noodles or homemade spätzle. Vegetable accompaniment could be spinach or broccoli rabe (rapini) sautéed with a bit of onion and garlic in olive oil and finished with a bit of chicken stock, salt and pepper. Beer pairing: Allagash Curieux and/or Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale.