It’s hard to resist the lure of new beer. There’s a number of sixpacks lurking in my refrigerator (and laundry room), and I really should finish these off before picking up new stuff. I’ve still got a few winter beers from last year hanging around, but seeing as how winter happens every year or so these should be right about ready to drink.
This Sunday Sixpack is actually a few weeks late (it’s more of a three-pack now): Redhook’s Late Harvest Autumn Ale (5.9% ABV). I’ve been a Redhook fan since working for a summer in Seattle in 2004, and their Sunrye summer ale (5.3% ABV) was fantastic – light, crisp, and drinkable.
Late Harvest is a little more robust, but it’s still a light, smooth drinker. It’s got what’s maybe a nutty/malty edge to it, but it’s definitely a Redhook. It doesn’t stick around on you, it’s not aggressive, and it’s a good cool weather beer.
Redhook’s website suggests pairing Late Harvest with grilled burgers or “tailgate cuisine,” and those would probably be great. Instead, I enjoyed it with a Pennsylvania specialty: Stromboli. Stromboli is awesome. Stromboli is delicious. Stromboli could very likely give you a heart attack. Take that, cuisine!
Stromboli sounds international, but it is a Pennsylvania invention. There are those who claim it was invented in Spokane, Washington, but I tell you these people are LIARS. Further, it is not the same thing as a calzone, which is nothing more than a botched pizza. It is layers of meat, cheese, and oil, held together by the thinnest veneer of bread.
Here’s Mother Aaaaaargh’s recipe, which she put together for us this weekend:
You’ll need a half-pound each (per stromboli) of deli pepperoni, salami, and ham (or capicola), provolone, and swiss cheese, and a few loaves of uncooked bread dough from the freezer section (don’t try to make your own dough, fancypants, you need the cheap frozen stuff). Leave the dough to sit for an hour to rise, then flatten it out into at least an 8×12″ rectangle.
Leaving the very edges open, cover the rectangle in alternating layers of a meat, then a cheese. If you’re not using all of a meat on a layer, you’re doing it wrong. This is also why you have to include swiss cheese – swiss sets firmer than provolone or mozzarella, so it gives you a foundation that holds the thing (and your arteries) together in that special way.
Once that’s done, roll the flat rectangle up the long way so you get a foot-long roll of dough. Make sure to pinch the dough closed well at the ends! Leave it to sit once again, for maybe an hour, then bake in a 350-degree oven for a half-hour.
Opinions vary on how to eat a stromboli, but you don’t just pick the thing up and shove it into your mouth. My family likes to cut off a slice and cover it in italian dressing, which I hold to be an abomination. Myself, I top a slice with butter and run it through the toaster oven broiler to really get things crisp. To date, I have not died.
Regardless, I can confirm that stromboli pairs excellently with Redhook Autumn Ale on a 65-degree fall evening in West Virginia. If these conditions are not available to you, rest assured you will still gain considerable enjoyment from your stromboli and beer. Just set aside time for a good nap afterward.