Nutrition: Beer marinades can add nutrition to food
Beer can also offer a depth of flavor without the added sodium that some marinades have.
When friends and family gather, you might offer a refreshing beverage. Have you ever thought about cooking with that beverage? Whether you have on hand a beer with or without alcohol, it can be used as a marinade for meat, fish, seafood and vegetables.
Cooking with beer provides added B vitamins, folate, antioxidants and magnesium. Beer can also offer a depth of flavor without the added sodium that some marinades have. You can use gluten-free beer if you are gluten intolerant and still enhance the flavor of your dish. Beer contains an enzyme that breaks down tough fibers in meat, acting as a tenderizer. The malt in beer can sweeten and create a caramelization to meat and vegetables. Beer adds an earthy complexity of flavor unique to the beer you choose.
There are different flavors that are picked up depending on the beer you use. Belgian-style beers highlight citrusy tones and can be used in fish or chicken recipes. Pilsners pair great with sausages and shellfish. IPA beers can be bitter and hoppy, but work great with chicken and pork. Porters are brewed with dark roasted malt and pair well with chocolate and coffee. Stout beers have a similar profile to porters and can be used to braise lamb or beef.
Moderation is important when drinking beer. It is also important to use moderation when cooking or marinating with beer. Beer tenderizes meat, but if marinated too long can change the quality and texture of the meat negatively. Most alcohol cooks off during the cooking process, but there will always remain small amounts left over.
Serves: 4-6 as an appetizer
1-1.5 pounds of mussels
1 (12 ounce) bottle of beer (Amber or Lager beer work great)
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 medium chopped fresh tomatoes
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
In a medium wide sauté pan, add the oil on medium heat (on the stove top or grill). Add the onions, garlic, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 5 minutes.
While onions are cooking, rinse the mussels well with water in a colander. If any mussels have opened up, please discard these and do not cook or eat.
Add the beer, tomatoes and the mussels to the pan and reduce the heat. Cover pan and simmer for 5-8 minutes until the mussels open up. Turn off the heat and add the butter and parsley and stir. Mussels should all be opened before serving. For mussels that have not opened discard.
Serve with crusty bread to soak up the great broth that has been made with the mussels.
Citrus Chicken Marinade
12 oz wheat beer (American or Belgian Beer)
1 medium Lemon
1 medium orange
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 pounds of chicken (breasts and/or thighs)
Zest the lemon, orange and lime and then squeeze their juices in a plastic bag.
Add to the bag the remaining ingredients including your preference on chicken.
Seal bag well and or place in bag in a bowl to prevent leaking. Let marinate for 5-6 hours in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to cook the chicken remove from marinade and pat dry. Then grill until internal temperature has reached 165 degrees.
Paula Bursch, RD, LD, is St. Luke’s Clinic Manager of Diabetes Education & Clinical Nutrition.