Friday, March 03, 2006

Belgian Beer no.24: Kasteelbier, the noble beer

The next beer we tried (as you can I am busy on the Belgian quest of going through all the beers), was a Kasteelbier, which means the castle beer. Brewed at the Honsebrouck Brewery since the 1900, the setting is literally a castle. Which I really hope to get the chance to visit this weekend. This is part B of the beer plan: to start visiting the breweries around as well.

The castle-fortress dates back to 1075, and it changed hands throughout the centuries, from the Duke of Bourgogne, to the Montblanc, being bought in 1986 by the current family, the Honsebroucks.

Several beers are brewed by them, among them the aforementioned Kasteelbier – the blond and the dark one. The Brigand, the St-Louis, as well as three specialities are also brewed here: the Vlaamsch Wit (the white Flemish), the K-8 and the Bacchus. And recently the brewery started producing the well-known Belgian Kriek (cherry) beer as well.

I particularly liked the blond Kasteelbier, although at 11% alcohol, moderation is asked for.

Pork fillet in flaky pastry with brown Kasteelbier sauce (serves 4)

4 lbs pork fillet
1,5 lbs flaky pastry
1 lb butter
0,5 lb shallots
5 eggs
2 bottles Kasteelbier (33 cl each)
50 cl stock
1 sprig marjoram
1 sprig lemon thyme
5 thick slices of bacon (0,25" each)
1 lb cultivated mushrooms
5 cloves of garlic
2 lbs potatoes
1 bunch parsley
5 tablespoons walnut oil
2 bunches watercress
1 large green cabbage
2 lbs large oyster mushrooms

Clean the oyster mushrooms and chop half of them into small pieces. Fry the chopped mushrooms in butter with the sliced shallots, season generously with salt and pepper and leave to cool. Make a slit down the length of each fillet and open. Stuff the fillets with the mushroom mixture. Fasten tightly with toothpicks. Fry in butter, season with salt and pepper and remove from the pan. Leave aside to cool. The sauce will be prepared in the same pan. Roll out the pastry and wrap it around the fillets, coat with egg yolk and cook in a preheated oven at 350°F for 20 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the brown Kasteelbier and stock. Add some marjoram and lemon thyme. Cook until the sauce has reduced by a third, sieve and add a knob of butter.

To prepare the Flemish style potato puree : fry the bacon in a little butter with sliced shallots and cultivated mushrooms, season with pepper, add two crushed cloves of garlic. Cook the floury potatoes and then strain away half the water, mix the mushrooms and bacon with the potatoes and the finely chopped parsley. Fry the whole oyster mushrooms in walnut oil as a garnish. Line a ring mould with blanched green cabbage and fill with the puree. Close carefully and place the puree in the middle of the dish, top with sauce, surround with the oyster mushrooms and sliced pork fillets. Garnish with watercress sprigs.
(recipe from the Kasteelbier website)

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