In Jamaica, there’s an old adage that says, “Patient man rides donkey.” And, as I prepped and cooked my braised Heineken oxtails, I knew for sure that the whole process entailed precious time. I had some to spare; so I was perfectly happy to execute this Jamaican dish with my twist.
Typically, beer is not part of the braising liquid; however, I wanted to put a somewhat different spin on the dish. And I did so by adding a half bottle of Heineken beer. This gave additional robust flavors that didn’t rob the dish of its traditional taste.
Oxtails were braised (stove-top) for approximately 3 hours under low to medium heat until fork-tender. Approximately 15 minutes before completion, bow-tie dumplings (spinners) were added. And close to the ending of dish lima beans (butter) were added.
I rode my donkey alright. The final dish was succulent. Just as I desired, the oxtail pieces were tender and delicious. The beer greatly enhanced the thick brown sauce and meat to another level.
Nature’s butter (well, that’s what I call avocado) has been staring me in the face for the last week. You see, just by chance I was gifted a couple of avocados a week ago by a nice woman. I was reminded that it was the beginning of avocado season. I was very excited. I thought they would have ripened during the week-end; but, they didn’t.
I placed them on my counter in a brown bag so as to hasten the ripening process. What do you know? It took those ‘guys’ exactly one week to ripe. I’m not complaining though. I was super-happy because I was in the mood for a home-made lunch. And when I made a check on them, they were ready for me.
I immediately rinsed and sliced my way into the beautiful yellow flesh of one of nature’s butter. From the looks of it, it was perfectly ripened to my liking, firm but possessed the silky smooth touch. I couldn’t wait to dig in. I proceeded to thinly slice and season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lime.
In addition, I added another favorite of mine, vine-ripe tomatoes. Though they were matured and juicy, they also were firm and sweet. I seasoned in similar fashion as the avocado slices. And, I drizzled a little olive oil on same along with crumbled pepper jack cheese with jalapeno.
My avocado and tomato salad needed more accompaniments. So, I reached for a couple of eggs and poached them to a soft finish for approximately 5 minutes with slightly runny yolks. I made sure to drizzle a little house vinegar in order to readily set the white of the eggs. Eggs were drained on paper towel and then drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper to my taste.
Guys, my avocado and tomato salad was not complete without a pairing of Heineken beer to quench my thirst. Moreover, on the side, I served toasted whole-grain English muffin (not in pic) with butter. I was ecstatic.
I admit, I’m not a huge beer lover. However, whenever the temperatures sky-rocket on the outskirts, I normally stock a few icy cold ones in my refrigerator. And so, the other day I bought half of a dozen and had a couple left-over. As I glimpsed my thawed drumsticks at the bottom shelf of the refrigerator an idea came to mind.
I decided to prepare and cook a beer and honey roasted chicken drumstick dish. Thus, I seasoned bone-in and skinless drumsticks with crushed garlic, salt, black pepper, thyme and half bottle of my Heineken beer. This was left overnight in a sealed zip lock bag. The other half was made into a honey and beer sauce which was used to slather over drumsticks ten to fifteen minutes to the end of the cooking period.
Marinated drumsticks were brought to room temperature after removing them from liquid (beer).
Chicken was dried with paper towel.
In a hot cast iron skillet, a drizzle of canola oil was added. Then, drumsticks were browned on both sides so as to lock in the flavors.
Roughly chopped onions and sprig of thyme were added.
Cast iron skillet was then placed inside oven for roasting at 385 degrees for 35 minutes turning once.
Beer and honey were reduced to a sauce-like consistency under low to medium heat.
Ten minutes before completion of roasting, drumsticks were brushed with beer and honey sauce.
The temperature on oven was increased to 400 degrees for a caramelizing finish.
Beer and honey roasted chicken drumsticks were served with sweet potato salad. The flavors came together superbly. The sweetness and the hint of sour married nicely.
I admit it; over the years, I’ve never been a big lover of beer. Oddly enough, I usually enjoy a bottle or can when the temperatures are sizzling on the outskirts and I’m busily doing manual work at home. That’s when I’m sweating and I can guzzle down a very cool bottle. It has to be icy cold otherwise, I become unenthusiastic about same.
So anyway, the temperatures have been skyrocketing in my neck of the woods for sometime. As a matter a fact, we were close to triple digits for a few days. Welcome to South Florida guys; that’s what sometimes occur in this locale in springtime. It feels like the good and lazy days of summer.
With beads of sweat gathering on my brow, somehow I gravitated towards the beer aisle. At first instinct, I wanted to grab Red Stripe beer; however, the store only offered twelve pack. What the was I doing with a twelve pack of beer? Of course, I made a bee-line for the Heineken. It carried six in a pack. I could rock that; so, I did.
It didn’t take me long to devour a bottle. I was in a celebratory kind of mood; cooking a snapper fish. Perfect for seafood. Anyway fast forward today, (Sunday), though I wasn’t cleaning and working up a sweat, I decided to sip on one. Bad idea. You see, I didn’t drink fast enough and room temperature took over. Pretty soon an idea came to mind. There and then I decided to use up the other half of my beer on my roasted chicken. The previous night, I had placed the dark portions in a marinade of herbs (parsley/thyme), crushed garlic, lemon, olive oil along with salt and black pepper.
Chicken was brought to room temperature. Then, I placed same on a greased baking sheet along with some roughly chopped red potatoes and carrots. Sheet pan was placed in heated oven at a temperature of 390 degrees for approximately 45 to 50 minutes.
In a small sauce pot, I added half bottle of beer with a squeeze of honey and ketchup. I allowed this to simmer for a few minutes under low heat. Then, this was drizzled on chicken parts about 20 minutes before the end of cooking time. This helped to create an aromatic and succulent sauce that co-mingled with the root veggies. Everything was happy and smelled amazing.
At the last five minutes into cooking, oven temperature was increase to 400 degrees so as to provide a more caramelizing effect of the honey, hops, and malted barley. Guys, I served my drunken roasted chicken and potatoes with the other balance of Heineken beer. Oh, I was on cloud nine.