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The Perfect Winter Meal

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Lately, I try to think of how I can incorporate beer into pretty much everything I cook. With the cold weather and holidays approaching, I'm starting to think about winter meals. I'm curious - what would be your perfect winter beer-based meal?

Necessarily after a long, cooooold hike in the woods, of course:

Poutine with some kind of belgian golden or double/triple; or Tartiflette made with some OLD stinky reblochon, with Dopplebock; or some form of meat pie, steak & kidney, or chicken & mushroom - with a large tankard of burton ale.

Somehow, I thought you might chime in, Phil.

Not a terribly refined menu, but I love the pie idea. I don't know why I didn't think of that. Mushroom pie with a best bitter or similar. Sounds awesome. I'm thinking a side of sweet potatoes cooked with a wee heavy or Gouden Carolus. Maybe a mackerel filet cooked in a butter/Strong Belgian Hoppy Blond (Chouffe Houblon?) sauce for a little refinement. Hmm...

A lamb stew, with dry stout in it, dumplings of course served with a pint of ESB

Oh, so you want fancy, eh?

Do you want to go the protein-heavy route or the fat-heavy route?

If you want fancy, how about this (served with an imperial stout):

Take one entire duck breast (both boobs, not just one), debone. Palliard (flatten), skin-side down. Add a layer of cranberry sauce, or fig jam, or onion compote, to the meat side.

Take an entire lobe of foie gras and ballotine (uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/512438) to a size that should more or less fit inside the duck breast. Optionally, stuff the inside of the foie lobe with truffles.

Roll the entire thing up, pancetta style, with the foie in the interior, and duck skin facing out. Tie it off so it can keep its shape.

Season w/ S&P, make a pain d'epices spice mix and coat the whole thing in a few TBSP worth.

Cryovac or put into a gallon-size plastic bag and suck out the air by closing the bag around a straw, suck the air out, and seal the bag.

Cook in a water bath at 54 deg C for ~ 1h30 to 2h. Remove and let cool. DO NOT remove from the bag.

Allow to rest overnight or up to a day. Two hours before cooking, put the log into the freezer to cool the foie in the center.

Meanwhile, preheat to 175 C enough oil to completely cover the log. If there is foie gras visible on the ends, make a batter and double-coat the ends (dry coating on first, then a rest, then a dip in milk, then another dip in a second coating) so they'll have a protective cap. Once preheated, carefully lower the entire thing and fry until the duck skin is crispy. Remove, allow to cool for ~5-10 minutes, and slice thinly along the bias.


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