From the Beer Wench's Kitchen
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Spring Pea and Lobster Risotto
By K. Allen

Article Originally Published in Southern Brew News

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  Spring is in the air. Evenings touched with a hint of chill fading into mornings and afternoons that are warm without being overbearing-a fitting description for the Beer Wench’s current pairing.

There are many wonderful restaurants and pubs across the Southeast that understand the perfect harmony of a great dish combined with a great beer. One such restaurant makes its home in Athens, Georgia and is known as Five and Ten.  The kitchen is run by a culinary genius, Chef Hugh Acheson. Hugh is a native of Canada, but his culinary education took him to many places and fortunately for us, he landed in the South. Hugh has organized many beer dinners at the restaurant and seems to have a knack for pairing food with beer. When I asked him what would go with a ginger beer, he flashed back two incredible recipes.  Which to choose?  I chose the Spring Pea and Lobster Risotto.  Okay, I flipped a coin.  They are both great!  The recipe does call for white wine, but you can substitute the beer with it as well.  To learn more about Five and Ten and Hugh Acheson go to , or visit Athens and find out for yourself.   The recipe is as follows:

2 T olive oil
                        cup minced shallots
                        1   cups risotto
        cup white wine
        3 cups chicken stock
                        3 cups lobster stock
                        1 cup blanched spring peas
                        2 cups cooked lobster meat, cut into inch pieces
                        2 T fresh parsley, chopped finely
                        1 t chopped fresh tarragon
                        1 T butter
                        1 T melted butter
                        6 lobster claws for garnishing
                        18 shavings of parmesan
                        2 T chopped chervil
                        salt and pepper to taste


    Oven to 450 degrees F

    Blend lobster and chicken stocks in a pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer.
Using a medium pot with a heavy bottom (I, Hugh, love smaller rondeaus for risotto), warm olive oil until it shimmers.  Add the shallot and cook until translucent.  Add rice and toast until the first layer of starch exudes from each grain and the rice becomes nicely glossy.  Add one cup stock to moisten down the rice, stirring constantly.  Gradually add more stock.  After about fifteen minutes of adding stock gradually and stirring constantly, taste the risotto.  If it’s still rock solid on the interior, continue adding stock.  If it just has a great crisp interior bit and seems just moments away from being done, then continue with these steps:
1. Add the peas, lobster meat, parsley and tarragon.  Stir.
2. Place lobster claws on a pie pan and brush with melted butter. Place in over to warm through.
3. Season a touch with salt and pepper and then add your finishing 1 T butter.
4. Portion out and top each with our one claw, garnish with chopped chervil and some shavings of parmesan.  Drizzle with a touch of good EVOO over each plate and serve.
The Beer... Don’t freak out on me, please. You spice lovers out there won’t be skeptical.  Spiced beers can be a double edged sword, and ginger, well, ginger has sent many brewers and tasters into gagging frenzies. But, give this beer a try. Atlantic Brewing Company’s Island Ginger is a “refreshing wheat beer spiced with fresh ginger root.”  According to the brewery, they use over twenty pounds of fresh ginger in the boil. Along with pale malt, wheat, Target and Whitbread Goldings hops, the ginger gives a little extra flavor to an already flavorful mix.  A fantastically refreshing brew to go with Hugh’s tasty risotto. Atlantic Brewing Company is also known for their Coal Porter, Bar Harbor Real Ale, and Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale. I had an opportunity to talk to Ken LaMorta of Carlaken Enterprises, the distributor bringing these beers into Georgia, last year at a tasting organized by Owen Ogletree. Ken expressed great excitement about these beers, and they have been very, well received.  Trust me when I say that this ginger beer is a perfect beer for the delectable risotto. To find out more about this beer or others by Atlantic Brewing Company go to

I hope you enjoy the recipe and the beer. If you have a favorite place in your area that you believe is worthy the Wench’s attention, drop me a line and I’ll check it out! The beer wench is always looking for a new favorite place, and remember, a beer by itself can be divine, but food without beer is a waste of time.

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