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05-04-2012, 06:37
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Whathappens if you take a classic recipe – Boston Baked Beans – and add a bottle ofSchlenkerla Rauchbier (http://www.schlenkerla.de/rauchbier/sorten/sortene.html) to it?

BostonBaked Beans is something I’ve wanted to cook for ages. Eating burnt end beansin Brooklyn kicked off the obsession which was compounded by seeing this recipe (http://helengraves.co.uk/2011/06/pulled-pork-boston-baked-beans-pickled-fennel/)on Food Stories (http://helengraves.co.uk/) (Helen definitely writes the best food blog around). Thosemixed with my curious side which wondered how I could beer-it-up.

Rauchbierwas the obvious answer. It’s low in bitterness, uniquely meaty and smells likethe fire these beans should be cooked over. It’s also incredible with the richflavours of meat and beans (see: sausage, chips and beans (http://www.pencilandspoon.com/2011/06/search-for-best-beer-for-sausage-chips.html)).

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Itook Helen’s recipe from Food Stories and halved it as I was cooking for one. Isoaked the beans and then when I put them on for their initial cook, the partwhere you boil hard for 10 minutes, I under-filled the water by approximatelythe volume of a bottle of rauchbier. When they were into the gentle simmerstage I poured in the beer.

(Ithen went for a run, knowing I had an hour until I had to do anything. Gettingback from the run, the house was filled with the smell of bacon, sweet smokeand the smokiness of beans cooking.)

Thenthe recipe just went as it should and over five hours after I started (theactual time needed to concentrate on any cooking is about 20 minutes, the restof the time you just let it cook) it was a dark, bubbling pot ofdelicious-looking beans.

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Doesit taste like smoke? Not especially, which is a shame, but you still know abottle of beer’s been nearby as it gives a background depth and richness. Iguess the smoke is dominant in the aroma which is driven off in the cooking,but who knows. To enhance the smokiness then smoked bacon would pimp it. Andthis obviously needs a rauchbier on the side. I had the Helles and the Marzen –the Helles was too delicate but the Marzen wrapped me in a beautiful cloud ofmeat and smoke.


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