girl + chilli

Chilli con carne is more than just a tasty meal, it’s the total delight at having a kitchen bench full of spices and colour and the aroma filling the entire house. It’s about slouching on the couch afterwards in your favourite trackies and being full and happy. And yes, it’s totally made better with beer.

I love chilli con carne; it’s warming, inviting and bursting with flavour. It’s a dish that falls into my “home food” category, i.e. I’m very unlikely to order it at restaurant because my love for it is greater than just the dish itself; it’s about my total delight at having a kitchen bench full of spices and colour and the aroma filling the entire house so much so that our dog is practically drooling. It’s about slouching on the couch afterwards in your favourite trackies and being full and happy.

Granted I could say this about a lot of dishes if I really thought about it but it is particularly true with chilli con carne.

Last week I had a go at making Paul Mercurio’s version from his Cooking with Beer book. I’m surprised that I’ve owned this book for a year and only just tried this recipe. Shame on my beery heart.

Chilli con carne

Weizenbock – a strong wheat beer, ‘bock’ indicating strong and ‘weizen’ German for wheat.

The recipe calls for a 330ml bottle of Weizenbock and I immediately wished I hadn’t drunk my last bottle of Mountain Goat / Brooklyn Brewery collaboration beer, the Hopfweizenbock – a hopped up weizenbock. With such strong wheat beer characters like banana and spice, coupled with biscuit, stone fruit and a good punchy finish, well it would have been pretty damn good.

Nøgne Ø Tiger Tripel … a little barnyard, dried pineapple, stone fruit, spicy, crisp citrus and a little red fruit. Sensational!

However, having enjoyed all the Hopfweizenbock I had to find a suitable substitute in our fridge. I decided on Sierra Nevada Kellerweis and a splash of Nøgne Ø Tiger Tripel, hoping my beer mathematics would work – Kellerweis + Tiger Tripel = Weizenbock.

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

Nogne O Tiger Tripel

The end result was an amazing chilli con carne, seriously one of the best I’ve made. I think this will be the chilli con carne recipe, the go-to recipe. My partner and I matched it with the Sierra Nevada Kellerweis, the wheat beer qualities like spice and coriander complemented the dish perfectly. The beers uber-refreshment also made for a fantastic palate cleanser for the heat in the dish.

Chilli con carne with Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

Click the image for the full recipe
Click the image for the full recipe

Accidental Pairing

Guacamole and Sierra Nevada Kellerweis – why hasn’t anyone told me about this before?! Delicious!

On Saturday I sat down to a snack and a beer, nothing unusual there, and unwittingly found my new favourite and dead easy beer and food pairing – Sierra Nevada Kellerweis and guacamole.

I had bought a 6 pack of Kellerweis on Friday as I had a bit of a craving for it and the avocados were fresh from the farmers market that morning. I had no idea they’d be so good together!

My new favourite thingFrom the first mouthful of guacamole followed up with a swig of Kellerweis I was sold. As I munched away, happily loading up my toasted pita bread with mounds of tasty green stuff I realised the pairing was actually very obvious. You’ve got lots of similar flavours happening between the two – coriander, citrus, bitterness/acidity. Plus the beers carbonation cuts through the avocado beautifully.

Then it hit me – my mini revelation wasn’t anything of the sort. Two Birds Brewing made a delicious hoppy wheat beer with coriander, lime and corn called Taco for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular beer back in May. Damn that was a good beer, perhaps it left a bigger imprint on me than I had originally thought, the remnants of those wonderful flavours all coming out in this pairing.

The pairing reminded me of something I had recently read at The Beeroness about her beer and food matching considerations – “think about all the flavours being in one bowl“. So true. Often I have mistakenly tried to match to the dominant flavour in the dish and the resulting pairing was alright but lacking in that “holy-freaking-hell” moment.

This was a little bit of a “holy freaking hell” moment and probably the closest I’ll get to another tasty glass of Two Birds Taco. Mmm, taco …