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Hello Dreamers, beer is in the air!
Saturday, September 19th, has officially begun the Oktoberfest, and here at Kiki Tales we couldn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate this delicious drink, which is finally taking the place it deserves in the Olympus of culinary excellence. Obviously, just if it’s done at its best!
And because we want to do things right, we chose a local brewery, totally handmade, which provided us with the raw material to make three recipes that take the beer its flavor and that, together with beer … they are just fine!
The Hordeum brewery in Novara (Piedmont, Italy) has proposed three “muses”: Regina, a light and refreshing beer, Era, a blonde one, more creamy and firm, and Contina, an alternative weiss, prepared with rye and spelled.
These beers were over in my hands and, above all, in my kitchen!
Well, I must say that I was surprised and that their taste was really inspiring …!
I started with Regina. You taste it and you wish that summer would last, to drink with friends on an old wooden table, outside the pub or on a terrace.
Maybe eating something terribly tasty … as a miaccia!
For the uninitiated, the miaccia is a typical valsesian specialty: thin as a crepe, but with a completely different texture, it can be stuffed with meats and strong cheeses, or with honey and jams. Once you had one, you would have a tons!
Its preparation would require a typical iron press, or tortillera, but you can do them also with a pan and a spatula (like the crepes one, of course!).
In this case, at the cost of making a heresy, I enriched the batter of the original recipe, adding the beer instead of water and part of the milk. The disks obtained can be paired with each other, with the filling in the center, or folded in half.
For about 10 “drunk miacce”
250 grams of white flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
150 ml of milk
150 ml of beer Regina
100 ml of cream
10 g butter, melted
Mix everything, so to get a batter without lumps, and let rest for half an hour.
When the pan or the plate is very hot, pour a ladle of batter in the center and spread evenly (and very quickly!) on the entire surface. It must be very thin. When golden on one side, turn it with a spatula and finish cooking. It will take a couple of minutes at most.
Miacce recall the mountains and alpine meadows, then they give their best with different toma or fontina cheese, and meats such as bacon or lard. If you prefer it sweet, choose wild jams or honey. I personally love the combination toma and honey: ideal for closing dinner. Then, like a good Novara-born, I never fails pairing with gorgonzola.
I advise you to proceed at first with the preparation of all the miacce, stacking them on a dish as they are ready, and then pick any stuffing you like, heating again in the pan just long enough to melt the cheese and to make the batter a little crispy.
After Regina, I went to Era. If the first was a Midsumme evening, Era makes you want warm sweaters and Christmas. It is the equivalent of a bottled comfort food, scents that make you stay at home willingly. And, this perfume, for me, is… risotto.
One of the first recipes of my blog was the “Brewer Risotto” and I decided to revisit it.
Luckly I had it in my fridge two sensational products of Trentino, that were right for my purpose: the excellent Speck (similar to Bacon) and Puzzone of Moena cheese, a delicious cheese with an unfair Bias name (Puzzone means “stinker” in Italian).
The slight smoked Speck has strengthened winter scents of this beer, while fat cheese and its little bitter taste in the end has just dampened the citrus notes.
A generous sprinkling of nutmeg to sweeten and the result was a risotto rich in flavour, but without excess, where all the scents were recognizable, but without being intrusive.
I then completed the dish with a beer sauce, mixing half a glass of beer, half a glass of water and a teaspoon of cornstarch, warming all at low heat to thicken, to bring out the beer perfume.
It was then the turn of Contina. I must admit that I have a fondness for weiss beer, but I do not think I’d ever try one with rye and spelt, ideal for those with wheat allergies (but beware: rye and spelt contain anyway gluten!).
Contina did not disappoint me! It was my favorite of the three: fresh, sweet, light and especially fragrant! So I decided that I would use in the preparation of a topside of veal roasted with apples.
The topside is not exactly a cut of meat to roast, because being very low-fat, tends to dry out. But, well marinated and served with a side dish fragrant and soft, such as apples, it can be really tasty.
For 4 people:
600 grams of topside of veal
* 3 apples diced, unpeeled
enough Beer Contina
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
a knob of butter
salt and pepper
* For this recipe, it would be better to use the apples like Golden, Fuji, Gala or Pinova.
In an airtight container, cover the meat with beer, thyme, lemon zest and a tablespoon of olive oil and marinate overnight. Do not add salt.
Preheat the oven to 180° C. In an ovenproof dish suited for both flame and oven, heat the butter and the remaining tablespoon of oil, drain the meat, keeping the marinade aside, and brown at high heat, so as to seal the juices inside, without never prick it with a fork. When it starts to brown, set aside, and in the same pan, brown the apples.
Now store the meat in the pan, add a few tablespoons of marinade, salt, pepper, cover with a suitable lids or with aluminum and bake for about 25 min.
If you have a cooking thermometer, the core temperature of the meat should be 50° C: so you will get a roast with a rosy heart, still tender.
Slice and serve, meat and apples should be eaten together, in one bite!
Tip: If you really want to overdo it, you can also cover the meat with thin slices of sweet bacon before cooking.
I hope you will try some of these recipes and have the opportunity to taste Hordeum beers.
Meanwhile, thanks for the inspiration!
Enjoy your meal!
Photos Federica Colombo – Illustration Elena Ronchi