Negra Modelo and Rick Bayless: The Perfect Complement
When I was young, one of my favorite things to do was to spend time with my Grandmother doing whatever it was that she wanted to do. She was my favorite person on the planet and the most interesting person I had ever met. One of her favorite pastimes was watching cooking programs on PBS, so that in turn became a favorite of mine as well. One of the shows that we really enjoyed watching was Rick Bayless‘ Cooking Mexican. Living in a relatively small town in Illinois, we didn’t have a wide variety of Mexican-inspired eateries to choose from. If I remember correctly, there was a Chi-Chi’s, a popular taco joint, similar to Taco Bell but regional.
I remember most the way that Rick Bayless would weave a story around the foods he would be demonstrating. His words would take you on a tour of the region he had explored and the descriptions of harvesting the ingredients, the smells and flavors could easily transport you, making you feel as though you were right there with him on his journey. I believe this show may have laid the groundwork for me being pegged as a finicky eater and laid the groundwork early on for a lifelong love of food and wanting to delve int o the stories behind the food. Where did it come from? Where was it found and how was it harvested? What techniques and ingredient pairings would really bring out the complexity of its character? I remember that long after my Grandmother had passed I would still find myself tuning into PBS and was so pleased once his show Mexico: One Plate at a Time (now in its 8th season) began airing. I am still riveted by his story-telling and passion for the foods he shares with viewers and readers alike through his many cookbooks and 7 restaurants that span from Illinois, Pennsylvania and California.
So imagine my utter delight to have been invited to an exclusive event that featured the man himself along with Negra Modelo! The event brought together Chefs Rick Bayless and Michael Cairns to share with industry professionals not only their passion for their craft but how that passion and great beer create the perfect complement; the theme for the evening. Both of these talented men are showmen and epic story-tellers and they shared their personal experiences of their cooking journey as well as how they find inspiration from specific ingredients. We learned how Negra Modela, a Munich style lager, is characterized by slow roasted caramel malts which gives a slight sweetness to the flavor allowing it to pair well with a number of dishes, not only alongside your meal but also incorporated into the dishes themselves garnering new and exciting nuances and flavors.
While on the center stage they bantered back and forth, thoroughly entertaining all onlookers, and each prepared their own dishes. Chef Cairns prepared an inspired poached salmon dish with hominy while Chef Bayless prepared lamb barbacoa taco which was prepared by slow cooking. Both dishes were a hit among the guests and left us all wanting a much heartier portion. Thankfully, our friends at Negra Modelo are very generous and have shared the recipe so that we, and you, can have them at any whim.
So, this begs the question; What is your idea of the Perfect Complement? How would you pair Negra Modelo with your dishes at home?
Sponsored by NEGRA MODELO USA
*We received complimentary samples and/or compensation to facilitate the write-up; however, our opinions are wholly our own. View our Disclosure Policy for more info.