Durango, Part 2: Eat, drink, cook

Story and photos by Karin Lazarus

Up in Durango, Colo., a craft beer emporium/gastropub called Steamworks Brewery is pushing the boundaries of what beer usually tastes like. The brainchild of Kris Oyler and Brian McEacrhron, the pub is the gathering place for locals and tourists alike who come to nosh on Kobe beef sliders, burgers made with meat fresh from the local Sunnyside Farms and Alaskan wild salmon with garlic mashers, among other stick-to-your-ribs dishes.

Kris had the manager create a to-go taster sampler of their brews – from which I brewed up the three following dishes back home in my kitchen.

Colorado Kölsch Peach Melba Crisp
Yield:10 servings

A comfort food favorite stepped up a bit with a bright Pilsner makes this dish sing with fresh flavor. Substitute whatever fruits are fresh and seasonal. Try apricot and blueberry or in the fall, pears and cranberry.

Filling:
12 ounces Colorado Kölsch Pilsner
4 to 5 pounds firm, ripe peaches (10 to 12 large peaches)
1 orange, zested
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pint raspberries

Topping:
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

Make the filling:
1. Pour Colorado Kölsch into a large pot; bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, boil until reduced to 1/3 cup. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Butter the inside of a 10 x 15 x 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish.
3. Cut a small “x’ into the bottom of each peach. Dip them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place them in cold water.
4. Peel the peaches and slice them into thick wedges and place them into a large bowl. Add the orange zest, cinnamon granulated sugar and brown sugar and flour, mix well. Gently stir in the raspberries. Pour the ale over the fruit. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour. Pour into the prepared baking dish and gently smooth the top.

Make the topping:
Combine flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of the fruit. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve immediately with a scoop of ice cream.

Steam Engine Lager Truffles in Salty Pretzels
Yield: about 24 truffles

Rich and malty lager paired with chocolate and pretzels hit the sweet and salty nail on the head!   Be sure to use a good chocolate, I used Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chunks.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup Steam Engine Lager
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups salted mini pretzels, finely crushed

Directions:

1.Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Place chocolate and butter in a medium sized bowl. Immediately pour hot cream over the chocolate and butter let stand for 2 minutes.  Gently stir until smooth and creamy. Stir in the lager and vanilla. Pour mixture into a 8 inch baking pan and refrigerate until chocolate mixture is firm enough to roll into balls, about 1 hour.
2. Remove truffle mixture from refrigerator and form 1 inch balls by rolling between the palms of your hands. Roll each ball in the crushed pretzels and transfer to rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate truffles at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days before serving.

Third Eye Pale Ale Salad Dressing
Yield: 1 3/4 cups

Citrusy ale shows up enough to announce its presence but not too loudly. Paired with sweet Balsamic, honey and herbs this dressing works beautifully over greens and doubles as a marinade for chicken, pork or fish.

Ingredients:
1 cup, room temperature
 Third Eye Pale Ale
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic
2 shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until well combined.

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