Keeping it real … Real Ale
Outside my garden is covered in a thin layer of bright white snow and I am freezing my bits off after waiting for a delayed bus, I need some hearty, rich, warm dinner to get me back to life again and nothing says “Lovingly Warm” like good gravy on your dinner plate!
Goose Island released their Winter Ale this year at their Bourbon County 2016 release party, to be honest on the night the beer was completely overshadowed by the Bourbon County 2016, which is why I was interested in revisiting the beer. Winter Ale pours a dark brown with mahogany highlights with a large head to start with but quickly disappears to a thin layer with hardly any lacing around the glass. On the nose you get nut and caramel aromas, the beer is quite sweet, again strong caramel, malt and slight hints of chocolate flavours on a thin mouth feel, hiding the 5.3% ABV well.
I’ve been meaning to do a beer gravy for ages and Goose Island Winter Ale seemed the perfect beer to use, you could also use other dark winter ales or a Belgian Dubbel. I had mine with bangers and mash but you could use this recipe for many different meals. For bangers and mash boil some potatoes and mash them up with a bit of butter till smooth and cook your sausages to the instructions on the packet.
Goose Island Winter Ale Gravy
Half a bottle of Goose Island Winter Ale (or any other winter ale or dark/ruby beer)
40g Unsalted butter
4 Garlic cloves minced
Red onion chopped
Half a pack of chopped mushrooms (chestnut preferable, I couldn’t find them in any of the shops on the way home so had to use normal mushcrooms)
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 Tablespoons of water
300ml beef broth (1 and half beef or veg cubes)
A gentle shake of rosemary and thyme
In a large pan melt the butter, throw in the chopped onions and garlic, fry on high heat for 2 mins, stirring often. Add the chopped mushrooms and keep mixing till everything is nicely coated in the melted butter. Fry for a few minutes, don’t worry about the bottom of the pan catching slightly, these bits are the good shit. After a few minutes add half a bottle of Goose Island Winter Ale, a sprinkle of thyme and rosemary (be careful with the rosemary as too much will over power the gravy) and mix.
Mix your one and half beef or veg oxo cube in 300ml of boiling water. At the same time add the corn starch to another jug and mix with two tablespoons of water till smooth and there are no clumps of corn starch.
Add the beef or veg broth to the pan and give it a good mix, season with salt and pepper then bring it to boil then add the corn starch mix while mixing well. Drop the heat and watch the gravy thicken. Keep it on low heat for a bit till you are happy with the consistency. If like me, you prefer your gravy thicker, then keep it on the heat for a bit or if you prefer it runnier then just add a bit of boiling water till you are happy with it. Taste check your seasoning then take it off the heat.
Pour over mash potatoes and sausages, use it in a Shepard’s Pie, have it on your chips or your Sunday roast. This gravy makes enough for a greedy two or for two with some left over which you can freeze and use at a later date up to 3 months later.
Serve with a glass of Goose Island Winter Ale to warm up your cold winter dinner times.
Disclaimer – I was sent three bottles of Goose Island Winter Ale for free from Shine PR company, however, this did not change my opinion on the beers.