Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How to Make a Cheesesteak while using New Holland's Four Witches Black Saison

Written by  Ryan Ranspach
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How to make a cheesesteak while using New Holland's Four Witches Black Saison

Everyone loves a good cheesesteak, even if they don't even know they do. Originating in the City of Brotherly Love, the cheesesteak sandwich has found its way onto the menu of just about every bar and greasy spoon in the country. There are many different styles of course. The original, as defined on it's wikipedia page, is "meat thinly sliced rib-eye or top round, although other cuts of beef are also used, lightly oiled griddle at medium temperature, the steak slices are quickly browned and then scrambled into smaller pieces with a flat spatula. Slices of cheese are then placed over the meat, letting it melt, and then the roll is placed on top of the cheese. The mixture is then scooped up with a spatula, pressed into the roll, and cut in half."
I have seen other versions with different kinds of cheese (pepper-jack, "cheez whiz", muenster, etc.) and other kinds of meat. My personal opinion is that the "thinly sliced" part is crucial. Steak, when put in a sandwich, can be tough and hard to eat. Having it sliced thin negates this problem. Different types of bread can add a different feel and texture to the sandwich as well. Like any other signature American dish, there are thousands of different ways and means to achieve a delicious end result. We decided on a rainy, deadbeat football Saturday to make our own with a Michigan Beer flair.

For our cheesesteaks, we used sliced skirt steak. This is a relatively tough though inexpensive cut of meat from the area between the abdomen and chest of a cow. Since it is pretty tough, you want to do a good, long marinade, so it played well into our hands for marrying it with a strong Michigan beer flavor. For the base of our marinade, we used Four Witches Black Saison by New Holland Brewing Company. This beer is a rich saison with heavy notes of caramel & barley and though it is technically a spring or summer offering,  the complexities and relatively high ABV of it (7.3%) work well for a fall day of drinking or a marinade. We felt that the strong caramel and rye in the beer really got into the meat and gave it a unique flavor, and we also used it in our cheese sauce which we'll discuss a bit later.

Here's What You Need To Make These Delicious Sandwiches To Serve About 4-5 People:

For the Meat:Marinating The Meat
  • 2 Pounds Skirt Steak
  • 2 Bottles Four Witches Black Saison (about a bottle per pound of meat), and an extra bottle for basting during the cooking process
  • 2 cups Beef Stock (about 2 cups per pound)
  • 2 Spanish Onions Roughly Chopped
  • 6 Cloves Garlic Roughly Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Worchestshire Sauce
  • 2-3 Dashes Liquid Smoke
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Cooking with New Holland's Four Witch's Black Saison

Combine meat with all ingredients and shake thoroughly in a fride-safe container. Let marinade 12-24 hours. Cook or grill on charcoal or skillet-top at med-high heat until meat is cooked to taste (about 20 minutes to medium-well), occasionally basting with the extra beer.

For The Cheese Sauce:
  • 4-5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 Finely Chopped Spanish Onion
  • 4 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Four Witches Black Saison
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 1/2 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onions, cooking until onions are translucent. Slowly add the flour and make a roux, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Add the beer and cream slowly while whisking. When the lumps are out of the mixture, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the sauce from the heat at this point and slowly add the cheese while whisking. Taste and add salt and pepper or more cheese if necessary.

Assembling the Sandwiches:
When the sauce is ready and the meat is done, place the meat in the desired buns (we used cheap, simple hoagie rolls and they were delicious) and top with the cheese sauce. At this point, you could also add sauteed onions and/or peppers, which is purely a matter of taste. Serve with side dishes and plenty of cold beer, and enjoy!

Although the skirt steak was a little tough, we thought these sandwiches turned out pretty good. One option to avoid this would be to have your butcher thinly shave the meat for you as mentioned earlier (if you don't mind the added cost). If you go this route, we would recommend you use a griddle top for the meat. At any rate, our version was a nice accompaniment to what was otherwise a dismal day of college football. If you try the recipe, reply and let us know what you think!