Have your brew and eat it too!
Some foods trigger memories from your past. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since I had a bite from a Sloppy Joe sandwich, but a Sloppy Joe is nonetheless like a time machine straight back to my youth. Imagine my joy when I flipped through The Craft Beer Cookbook by Jacquelyn Dodd (better known on these pages as The Beeroness) and came across a Sloppy Joe recipe. Her version transports my palate to a simpler time and enlivens one of my favorite childhood memories with the adult pleasure of stout. Chorizo Stout Sloppy Joes (page 121) brings me back and catapults me forward. The Craft Beer Cookbook makes it possible to have beer for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Heck how about dessert too? There are 100 recipes for cooking with beer in this book.
Some are modern takes on classics– so get your own time machine ready. But there are also creative new ways to bring flavor and dimension to your cooking through beer. All kinds of beer.
The Craft Beer Cookbook
Dodd starts this exploration with useful information about beer in general. She provides a look at the history of beer, as well as some definitions of different styles of beer. If you’re unsure just what makes a pilsner a lager and not an ale, this book offers up the information in a way that makes sense to cooks. After all, this is a cookbook. A cookbook where beer is a vital ingredient and not just splashed in as a novelty. Dodd’s deep understanding of the layered flavors in beer leads her to present recipes that benefit fundamentally from its addition.
Beer is a natural in yeasty breads and Dodd includes several chewy choices. You can even make Hamburger Buns with beer– wheat beer of course (page 96). Red Ale provides just the right bite to offset the creaminess of her Butternut Squash Bisque (page 100) and chocolate stout adds rich sophistication to a Cake with Chocolate Raspberry Ganache (page 184).
There are many recipes that I know I will try. However, the moment I opened The Craft Beer Cookbook I knew that a Sloppy Joe was first on my list.
Honestly I haven’t eaten a Sloppy Joe since I was about 9 years old. When I was growing up Sloppy Joes were a kid-friendly sandwich that appealed to my carnivorous mom and dad, making it a fun family meal. My mom used to bring all the ‘extras’ to the table so that each kid could customize their sandwich as they pleased. Layers of sliced cheese always found their way onto my bun. My dad liked a scattering of raw onions and everybody ate bread-and-butter pickles on the side.
But somehow as my mother’s interest in gourmet food developed, the Sloppy Joe fell out of her dinnertime rotation. So you see, I need this book and its time machine in my life.
As much as I loved my mom’s version, I’m all grown up now and appreciate Dodd’s sophisticated take on a childhood favorite. She uses ground pork instead of hamburger. That makes sense to me. She spices things up too– with Mexican chorizo and cumin. Two things my mom would never have considered. Of course, the dark malty flavors in stout bring this classic full circle for me. GREG