If you haven't noticed, hard cider is everywhere. Over the last year, cider has become the fastest growing adult beverage with an astounding 31.3% market gain in 2012. It even outpaced craft beer. Although cider has a deep history in the United States dating back more than 150 years, it went extinct, in part, thanks to Prohibition.
In the early colonial days of the US, apple orchards were started not to eat apples, but to make cider. Although I don't recall hearing about it in elementary school history class, Johnny Appleseed's orchard planting spree had less to do with taking a bite out of an apple and more with making sure there was a certain fermented beverage on the breakfast, lunch, and dinner tables. Yes, cider was an all meals drink.
With the push into the 20th century, cider started to experience a decline as newly arriving immigrants from Europe brought a taste for beer. Finally, the outlaw of the sale of alcohol in the US, during our period of prohibition, served a death blow. Orchards were either burned or migrated to grow more sweet apples, a sharp contrast from the bittersweet apples used for cider.
Cider in the United States never recovered. Until now.
Although I've never been a huge cider drinker, I find myself, and my friends, grabbing it ever more frequently. Angry Orchard, especially their Apple Ginger, is in my opinion one of the best. Zoë even seconds that, and having been born and raised in England, that's saying something.
Not only is cider great to drink, it is also fabulous to cook with. So, grab a glass, fire up the grill, and get skewering.
Beef Skewer with Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Chimmichuri
Adapted from Chef Andrew Urbanetti
8 wooden skewers, soaked in water or metal skewers, not soaked in water
1lb. flat iron steak, cubed
4 spring onions, golf-ball sized (or sweet onion/green onion)
½ cup parsley leaves
½ cup cilantro leaves
1 Tbls ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup olive oil
½ cup Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Cider
1 Tbls white vinegar
1 Tbls kosher salt
Cut spring onions into quarters, and set aside. (Note, I couldn't locate spring onions so I opted for a combination of green onions and sweet onions. Either will work.)
In a food processor, combine parsley, cilantro, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt.
With the processor running, pour in olive oil, cider, and vinegar. Reserve half. Since you are only using a half cup of cider, it's a great excuse to drink what's left. I find it helps keep the cook sane.
Although anything "beef" can be skewered, I really like to use flat iron steak. It's relatively inexpesnive, very tender, and quite flavorful.
Skewer steak and onion, and marinate in remaining sauce.
There are two schools of thought here. Marinade the ingredients separately and then skewer or skewer and then marinade. The biggest issue with the latter is ensuring good contact between the sauce and meat. Even though I've already skewered the meat, I still use a plastic bag, being careful, of course, not to skewer the bag.
The bag wrapped skewers allow for easy overhauling and blending. Marinate, chilled, for at least one hour, or up to two days.
Pre-heat the grill. Remove skewers from marinade, shaking off excess.
Grill over high heat until meat is medium rare, about 4 minutes.
Serve with reserved chimmichuri.
And of course, some Angry Orchard.
Note: Angry Orchard provided me with Chef Urbanetti's recipe and some sample bottles of Angry Orchard. The bottles fit nicely next to the huge stash of Angry Orchard I already own and will continue to buy. It's great stuff.