Match of the day
PUBLISHED: 11:55 31 October 2013 | UPDATED: 11:56 31 October 2013
Ross Turner demonstrates the winning combination of local beer and food
Suffolk is an established food and drink destination, producing some of the finest on offer.
I’ve always been fascinated with beer, pubs and breweries and have always been involved with the catering industry. I enjoy food and trying new flavours. Last year I studied to become a beer sommelier. It’s taken me and my business in a new direction.
A beer sommelier is someone competent in the pairing of food and beer, similar to a wine sommelier. This is a fairly new profession, which is becoming more popular, mainly due to greater awareness of beer, the increase in craft breweries and the choice of beer available to us.
You can never stop learning about this subject as new beers are being introduced all the time. Most UK breweries bring out guest or seasonal ales, so there’s always something new to try. Having an understanding on the different styles, the appropriate glassware and serving of beer is all essential. Understanding the flavours that come through from different ingredients in each beer is important when matching with food so you can marry the two together.
I find beer more versatile than wine when pairing with food. For instance, which wine could you pair with a Madras curry or a spicy hot chili? The heat created from either dish would turn any white wine warm and any rich or fruity red wine flavours would be almost destroyed by the heat and spices.
I enjoy wine very much – in fact I particularly like Amarone, Rioja or Sancerre but this does not change my opinion. A nice Concordia Rioja Reserva is great with extra mature English Cheddar, but why not try a St Austell Smugglers from Cornwall? A delicate white fish dish is good with a Chablis, but have you ever tried a Belgium beer called Hoegaarden? The aromas and flavours from a beer are vast and can make your food dance longer than wine.
Let’s start with Adnams, one of our more familiar Suffolk breweries. The man with the responsibility for brewing the Adnams range is Fergus Fitzgerald. He trained at the Murphy brewery in Cork and at Fullers in London, before moving to Adnams as assistant brewer 2004. Now a fully qualified master brewer, he took over as head brewer in 2009 and was voted brewer of the year in 2013. He has just launched Adnams first lager, Jack Brand dry hopped. For more information www.adnams.co.uk
Canadian born Tyler Torrence, head chef of the award winning Adnams Crown Hotel has created a wonderful dish which is on the menu at the Crown Hotel in Southwold, Crown of Bunwell Partridge Caramelized Pear and Root Vegetables.
The ingredients are fresh and sourced locally, the menu is very much in keeping with the seasons. After agreeing with Tyler that partridge would be the order of the day I had the task of selecting one of Adnams beers to match it.
It’s important to complement the partridge, a delicate member of the game family, so the flavours from the beer must not be to overpowering. Adnams Native Britten 4.5% abv (alcohol by volume) is a fantastic choice – Fergus and the team produced an extremely well crafted golden wheat beer with ingredients from Suffolk – malt, wheat, first gold hops and a touch of honey and thyme. When poured into a 10oz gemini or chalice glass to serve at the table you get a wonderful golden coloured beer which has delicate carbonation and aromas of citrus, spice and cloves. When you take your first sip you immediately identify the honey in the beer, which is followed by the gentle mixed spice flavours. As the beer passes the back of the mouth you can recognise the thyme, which gently cleanses the palate with a subtle bitterness. The gentle citrus notes combine well with the partridge, the honey complements the pears and the thyme enhances the root vegetables. I knew when I first tried this beer on one of the Adnams Brewery tours it was something special.
Crown of Bunwell Partridge
Caramelized Pear and Root Vegetables
Partridge is my favourite game bird of the season. I find there is beautiful timing to fall’s bounty. This season pretty much writes my menu for me. As pears are ripening partridges are coming to their best. I pair this with roasted root vegetables, which are abundant and very lovely with game birds. This definitely sounds like dinner to me.
Recipe For 4
4 partridge crowns off, legs off & backs reserve for sauce
Any good butcher will be happy to help but a sharp knife, some patience and care should do just fine.
Small bunch thyme
Meat roasted on the bone always tastes better. At The Crown we serve the partridge on the crown (we leave the breasts on the breast bone), this keeps the game bird from drying out. Slow cook the legs with the shallots, lemon & thyme in the duck fat with a splash of water at 80°for 1.5 hours then reserve. This is a classic confit method and I have not yet found a tastier way of cooking little bird legs. Pat the partridge crown dry with paper towel then season with sea salt and a pinch of white pepper. Heat an oven safe pan add a splash of oil and brown the partridge crown on all sides; now remember they’re not the biggest of birds so be gentle when browning on all sides. At this point I place the confit legs in with crowns and place the pan in a medium oven for few minutes to let the partridge finish through. Take the partridge out to rest; I suggest cooking a little less, then allowing for the partridge to rest up to a perfect pink.
2 Pears cut in half, seeded
Caramelize the pear in a hot pan; that’s just a fancy way of saying panfry lightly until golden and soft.
Small Bunch of Thyme
Peel all the roots & cut into different shapes place in a roasting pan toss with oil and bake with garlic and thyme at180° until tender. To plate – I place the crown of partridge on buttered savoy cabbage and a pull of beetroot puree as a counterpoint on the plate. I mound the roasted root vegetables together with the pear & the slow cooked legs.