Patriots Buffet Table 10/25/2009 Patriots at Buccaneers
by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

This week the Patriots are traveling to Old England,finally undertaking the invasion we should have undertaken in 1776.

Usually the Buffet Table covers home games, but we’re making an exception this week. After all it’s not very often that the Patriots play outside the United States – at least until the Bills move to Toronto. We also have to except the annual Jets game in whatever country New Jersey is part of. Ok, so maybe it isn’t that uncommon afterall.

Still, as the Patriots prepare to show the Brits what real football is, the Buffet Table is being loaded with traditional British food and drink.

What to eat

We’re going with the most British of all British food. Chicken Tikka Masala. Yes it is British, Scottish in all likelyhood. Apart from good old McDonalds and KFC it’s one of the most popular foods in England.

Chicken Tikka Masala (serves 6)

1 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, remove skin and bones, cut 2 or 3 shallow slices into each piece

There are a lot of different spices here, if you don’t have all of them available, just seek out a curry spice blend that is reasonably close. Every version of Chicken Tikka Masala has a different blend of spices.

Marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours, overnight will be best.

Once marinated, blot the marinade off the chicken with paper towels. Heat your grill to high (if inside use the broiler) and grill the chicken over direct heat for about 8 minutes, turning once. We’re not trying to cook the chicken entirely here, it will finish in the sauce.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons garam masala (an Indian spice blend, available in most stores, if you can’t get it just use more of the spice blend from the marinade)
2 teaspoons chile powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
36 ounces canned diced tomatoes, (including the juice)
Pinch of sugar to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream

This can be done in any large skillet, but a cast iron casserole pot will be best if you have one.

Add the oil and once hot add the onion and garlic. Once the onions are translucent add in the spices, cook through for a minute or so. Drop the heat to a slow simmer and add the tomatoes and chicken. Cook covered for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes stir in the cup of heavy cream. Cook uncovered for the final 10 minutes.

Serve over rice, or with Naan traditional Indian flatbread.

What to drink

With the most British of British food, we have to have the most British of British beer. In England that would probably be a lager like Stella Artois or Budweiser, but we have better options here in New England. Usually we concentrate on one beer style at the Buffet Table, but this week we’re going wider in our search.

Craft beer in the US is almost entirely in the British tradition, but nowhere moreso than in Maine. It all started with Geary’s Brewing. David Geary learned how to brew at Traquir house, an almost 1000 year old manor in Scotland. Bringing his knowledge back to Maine, He opened D.L. Geary’s in 1983 with his wife and a partner. It was only the fourteenth craft (micro) brewery in the United States.

Geary’s flagship is Geary’s Pale Ale. A British style Pale Ale, it’s a balanced beer but a bit to the hoppy side. Being a British style Pale ale, it’s meant to be maltier with less assertive hops than you may be used to in an American Style Pale Ale

Their current seasonal is Geary’s Autumn Ale. This one is a British style Brown Ale. It is maltier than the Pale, and is also higher in alcohol. The malts used in this one give it a nutty taste.

Darker than the Autumn Ale, but about as strong as the Pale Ale is Geary’s London Porter. Expect roasted flavors with a coffee like aroma.

Geary’s second strongest beer is the Hampshire Special Ale. Up until a few years ago it was ‘only available when the weather sucks’. At 7% ABV it’s too big to be considered a Pale Ale, and it’s too small to be considered a Barleywine. Geary’s doesn’t label it as such, but this would be called an Old Ale in England.

The biggest beer in Geary’s standard portfolio is Wee Heavy. A Wee Heavy is a Scottish style, characterized by very little hop flavor and bitterness, and very high maltiness in the flavor and aroma. Scottish Ales are traditionally named according to the taxes paid per barrel. As the strength of the beer increased so did the taxes paid per barrel. Once you’ve made a beer as strong as Geary’s Wee Heavy it’s at least a 90 shilling beer, sometimes marked as 90/- and is properly called a Scotch Ale instead of a Scottish Ale.

With Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Porter, Old Ale, Scottish Wee Heavy part of the everyday lineup you’ll hit most of the major British styles from just this one brewery. With the help of some other Maine breweries
we can come close to hitting all British styles.

Atlantic Brewing makes some of the same styles as Geary’s but also puts out S.O.B. It’s their version of an Extra Special Bitter. Extra Special Bitters have a lot in common with English Pale Ales. Traditionally the only difference is the ESB will be served on draft, the Pale Ale would be bottled.

Gritty McDuff’s production brewery and brewpubs make a range of English and American styles, but their speciality is the English Bitter. All of their seasonals are actually different Bitters.

Bitter is a misleading name for these beers, it was a relative term to other beers of the time that were very sweet. A ‘Bitter’ is usually balanced and even the strongest and hoppiest the Extra Special Bitter (ESB) is nowhere near as hoppy as an American IPA or Pale Ale.

Gritty McDuff’s Best Bitter is an example of a lighter bitter, it is in the Best Bitter (or Special Bitter) style. Think of it as the little brother of an Extra Special Bitter.

Gritty’s Original Pub Style, is darker than the Best Bitter and is somewhere between an English Brown Ale and a Best Bitter.

Their fall seasonal, Halloween Ale brings us back up to the ESB style. Stronger and hoppier than the standard Best Bitter. It is a great fall seasonal that breaks up the run of Octoberfests and Pumpkin beers from every other brewery.

Soon enough the winter seasonal Christmas Ale will be out. It’s slightly stronger than the Halloween Ale, with a different hop profile. It is still in the ESB style.

Gritty’s also makes a Scottish style Ale, it is lighter than the Geary’s Wee Heavy, but still a strong malty beer. In Scotland it would be called an 80 shilling (80/-) and would be considered a Scottish Ale instead of a Scotch Ale.

Geary’s gave us London Porter, but Gritty’s goes with it’s Irish cousin.

Gritty’s Black Fly Stout is named after the seasonal pest that plagues parts of Maine – Quebecois. As an Irish dry stout it’s roasty, and seems stronger than it’s 4.4% ABV.

There are a few British styles that we didn’t hit, but the ones above are a good cross section of ‘British’ beer. We also missed the biggest brewery in Maine but in my opinion Geary’s blows their ship out of the yard.