Beer and vegetarian fare may seem like strange bedfellows, but some relationships just work. Recently, I discovered a tempeh and mushroom dish that was so delightful I made it over and over, gathering feedback from friends, especially vegetarian and vegan friends, and customizing it to our liking. The original recipe, Tempeh in Hearty Mushroom-Lager Sauce was published by Vegetarian Times. The most important modification is one suggested by VT in the print publication-instead of using all beer for the liquid use a mixture of beer, water and a squeeze of honey or agave. This modification tones down the bitter notes.
This dish is not complicated to prepare and provides great rewards for your efforts. I had high hopes of this Tempeh dish being suitable to pairing with red wine but it wasn’t working as well as I hoped with the red wines we had open on the table. Since beer is part of the making of this tempeh in mushroom sauce, I figured beer would be a great beverage to pair with this dish. Such was the challenge I presented to Bean.
Bean took one bite, went to her refrigerator and pulled out a Silver City Brewery’s Fat Scotch Ale. There was no need to return to the frig for another option because this choice was spot-on. The dark, malty flavor paired brilliantly with the savory flavors of the dish. The smoky sweetness spoke softly to the browned mushrooms. The hefty mouth feel of the beer was matched by the full texture of the tempeh and mushrooms swaddled in the thickened sauce. This is a great hearty winter dish and it pairs very nicely with hearty, malty beers, such as the Silver City Brewery Fat Scotch Ale. Even non-vegetarian friends enjoy this dish. The beer helps them recover from the shock that they are enjoying a soybean product.