Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cook's Country Beer Battered Onion Rings

Beer-Battered Onion Rings
Serves 4 to 6
2 sweet onions, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds (use a sweet Vidalia)
3 cups beer (use a dark beer like Shiner Bock)
2 teaspoons malt vinegar (next to the other vinegars at the grocery)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 quarts peanut or vegetable oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1. Soak onions: Place onion rounds, 2 cups beer, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a zip-lock bag; refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
2. Make batter: Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.
While oil is heating, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in 3/4 cup beer until just combined (some lumps will remain). Whisk in remaining beer as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until batter falls from whisk in a steady stream and leaves faint trail across surface of batter.
3. Fry rings: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Remove onions from refrigerator and pour off liquid. Pat onion rounds dry with paper towels and separate into rings. Transfer one-third portion of rings to batter. One at a time, carefully transfer battered rings to oil. Fry until rings are golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through frying. Drain rings on paper towel-lined baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and transfer to oven. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining onion rings and batter. Serve.

Troubleshooting Beer-Battered Onion Rings
Problem: Crunchy onions.
Solution: Soak in beer. Soaking the rings in a combination of beer, vinegar and salt softens and flavors the raw onion. Just don't soak longer than 2 hours or they get too soft!
Problem: Bad battering.
Solution: Add beer gradually. If the batter is too thick, the rings will be doughy; too thin and it will run off. Add the beer gradually until the batter falls from a whisk to form a ribbon trail.
Problem: Fused onion rings.
Solution: Don’t crowd the pot. Fry the battered onion rings in small batches and transfer them one at a time to the hot oil so they don’t stick together.

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