Hopped Up Eugene May 1-7
In the back of my defunct freezer that I use to cure meats and store beer in sits a Portland Brewing Rose Hip Gold Belgian-Style Ale. It has been there for a good couple of months. I bought it on a whim, intrigued by the words “rose hips”. And there it sat, due to the same words, and the fact that it was unusual. Rose hips in beer? I like hot tea with rose hips. Was not so sure about it in a bottle of ale. However, the chance to drink it finally arose, when a lighter beer was needed to drink with stuffed Pasilla peppers and nachos with tomatillo salsa.
Perfect for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo, this brew is a complimentary pairing with the mild peppers and tangy salsa used in this dish. For every bite of cheesy potato filled pasilla, a pepper with its own mild and unique flavor, a balancing sip of beer that is herbal and malty. Cilantro, charred pepper and mild rose scents fill your nose, salty cotija cheese, zesty lime and refreshing beer fill your mouth.
1 lbs tomatillos with the shell taken off
1 garlic clove
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1/2 bunch of italian parsley
Juice of one lime
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp smoked salt
Roast tomatillos on bbq on medium heat. Turn them over one time, once the side nearest the grill starts to turn brown. Remove as soon as the turned side starts to brown or tomatillo bursts. Place these and the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste to ensure the salsa is salty or sweet enough, to your liking.
Stuffed Pasilla Peppers
10 peppers (pasilla is often a general term, poblanos and serranos will also work well)
4 new potatoes – 3” wide
1/2 round cotjia cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp smoked salt
3 Tbsp tomatillo salsa
1/2 cup flour
Roast peppers on all sides on bbq until skin starts to pucker and blacken. Place in a quart bag and close to let steam. This will help the skin release easier. Chop potatoes into 1” pieces, place in a bowl and place in microwave for 4 minutes. Check to see if cooked thoroughly, if not, cook for another 4 minutes. Repeat process until cooked. Place sour cream, cotjia, salt and salsa in food processor (if you make the salsa first, simply leave some in there). Add in potatoes and pulse until creamy and smooth.
Turn oven on to 450 and generously coat a large cookie sheet with olive oil. Take peppers out of the bag and lay out on cutting board. Peel off skins, slice one side open and remove as many seeds as you can without tearing the rest of the pepper. Scoop about 1/2 cup of potato filling into each pepper, and close around it. Place the flour on a plate and gently roll each pepper in the flour. Lay finished peppers on the cookie sheet, and lightly coat the tops of each pepper with oil. Bake for 20 minutes. Nachos are self explanatory, however I suggest tossing some tortilla chips in a mix of salsa, white beans and corn and laying them on a cookie sheet with some jack cheese over the top. We often eat nachos for dinner, and have found that coating the chips prior to baking lends to more flavorable eating experience. Put the nachos in the oven at the ten minute mark.
Ripe for upcoming summer months, this dinner is a crowd pleaser. While you can add more protein, I find that keeping it simple is better. The cheese and beans are heavy enough, but if you need more, I would suggest chorizo. The peppers are even better the next morning for breakfast.
I would call Rose Hip Gold a sessionable beer, the ABV is only 6%, where as most similar beer in Belgium rates well above 8%, and sometimes around 12%. I have sampled more than my fair share in Brugge, I am not sure that the term “sessionable” would even apply in that country! A quick search on their website, and I see that you can find Portland Brewing Company beer at many Eugene markets; Winco and Bi Mart to name a few. Knowing that I can drive down the road and grab a few bottles, I look forward to drinking this beer over the summer, while in the garden digging up weeds and BBQing some good food.