Thursday, June 7, 2012

Brewpubs and Pub Grub

                                                “Yes, baby, I’ve  been drinkin’ " *

Of Brewpubs and Pub Grub: Lamb Burgers with Tomato Chutney &
Cumin Dusted Sweet Potato Oven Fries
(listening: Bonnie Raitt  “Slipstream”)

Philadelphia, like most cities, was a city of beer. At one time there were 700 breweries throughout the city. Today, while there aren’t as many breweries in Philadelphia as before, thanks to craft beer brewing over the past two decades, once again Philadelphia is a city of great beer. From Dock Street, the first microbrewery in Philadelphia to Yards Brewing and numerous brew/pubs (Nodding Head, Triumph, Earth and Bread Brewery) you don’t need to go far for great beer.
The micro brew revolution has spread out to the suburbs, where breweries and brewpubs such as Victory, Sly Fox, and Iron Hill have garnered national reputations. More continue to spring up as experienced home brewers take a chance on their own ventures. Round Guys Brewing Co. in Lansdale is now selling their beers several days a week. In Perkasie, Good Will Brewing brews and sells its draft beers locally. After a considerable wait, Ambler’s Forest & Main recently opened their doors. This June 23rd will mark the third annual Beer Tasting Festival in Lansdale, with a (literally) mind numbing 75 breweries participating and pouring.
Clearly we have quickly reached the point where there is more beer than we can possibly drink. How better to celebrate all of this beer than with a little brewpub-style food?  Let’s put the beef on hold and grill lamb burgers.  And we’ll replace the ketchup with some tangy tomato chutney and add some sweet potato oven fries on the side.

Lamb burgers on sea salt rolls from Alice Bakery

Lamb Burgers with Tomato Chutney
For two servings:
10 or 12 ounces ground lamb
salt & ground black pepper
burger rolls

1. Form the ground lamb into two patties; season with salt and pepper. Grill the lamb burgers to desired degree of doneness. Remove from the grill; toast the rolls then place the burgers onto rolls and top with some of the chutney.

Tomato Chutney
1 medium onion, chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped (about 1 Tablespoon)
red pepper flakes or diced jalapenos, to taste
One 28 ounce can tomatoes
¼  cup white vinegar
¼ cup light brown sugar
One  3” cinnamon stick
Grated zest of 2 limes
Salt and ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons oil, for cooking

1. Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. When hot, swirl in the oil. Add the onions and sauté until to soften; do not brown. After 2 to 3 minutes, season the onions with a little salt. Add the garlic and hot peppers; stir and cook until fragrant.
2.Cut the stem end off of the tomatoes and crush them. Add the crushed tomatoes, along with the juice from the can into the pan. Add the brown sugar, vinegar, and lime zest and stir to dissolve sugar.; season with ground black pepper. Simmer the chutney until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally as the chutney cooks. When the chutney has reduced and thickened, remove from heat. Unused tomato chutney will keep stored in a container or jar in the refrigerator for several weeks. It is also good with grilled fish and chicken.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries Dusted with Cumin
One orange sweet potato (yam)
Olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
Ground cumin

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise, then cut each half into quarters lengthwise. Line a cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment or a silicone baking mat. Arrange the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet.  Drizzle the potatoes with about 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and black pepper. Place the sweet potatoes in the oven and roast for 20 minutes; check the potatoes for doneness by inserting a knife point into the flesh of the potato. If the potatoes need more cooking, return them to the oven for a few more minutes.  Remove sweet potatoes from the oven. Sprinkle the sweet potatoes with a light dusting of ground cumin. 


*lyrics from “Guilty,” lyrics by Randy Newman          

Those of us who grew up in the Philly area have a special place for Bonnie Raitt. We remember her local appearances (with her bassist, “Freebo”) at the Main Point, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, on Gene Shay’s Sunday night folk music show, or opening for other acts at larger venues. She’s back after a break of seven years, a time in which a number of personal losses occurred her life. She returns, still in great voice; an impeccable musician. She has been an influence on many younger musicians (sorry about the word, “younger,”) such as Susan Tedeschi.  But where Bonnie plays slide guitar, Susan had to marry her own slide guitarist. Welcome back.

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