If you know me, you know I love all things bubbly. Beer, cider, wine, water – if it comes in liquid form, it’s better with bubbles! Another thing you probably know about me, is that while I love bubbles – sometimes the calories that surround those effervescent libations are more than what I’m looking for since I try to be conscious of all of the calories I’m putting in my body. That’s why when I was given the opportunity to review Michelob Ultra Cider I jumped at the chance.
I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, ”Amanda, you like hard-hitting, high alcohol content IPA’s, Barley Wines, Kriekenbiers, and the likes there of!” And you know what, you’re right! I thoroughly love all those styles of beer (and more)! But in the heat of summer there is something about a light, crisp, refreshing beer that those heavy hitters don’t bring to the table. I’m super excited about the new Michelob Ultra Cider because while I really like hard ciders, I often have a hard time drinking an. entire glass due to how sweet and heavy they are. This is the glory of Michelob Ultra Cider – it’s got a nice crisp, refreshing apple flavor without being uber-sweet and heavy like traditional hard ciders. It’s naturally sweetened and made from hand-picked apples and, btw naturally gluten free. Unlike most beers, while this cider is delicious drunk straight out of the bottle, it’s also great over ice when the sweltering heat of summer becomes unbearable. Please visit Michelob’s site here for more information and to find a retailer that carries the cider.
After having drunk a few of the ciders you know I couldn’t resist making a recipe out of the beer! Since it’s summer I knew I had to fire up the grill, make a sauce based around the cider and invite a few friends over to enjoy the occasion. We’re eating Michelob Ultra Cider & fennel sauce glazed grilled chicken breasts with a refreshing shaved granny smith apple-fennel salad. Grab a six pack (or two) of this refreshing, crisp cider, fire up the grill, call your besties over and enjoy all that summer has to offer. Which favorite summer meal or activity do you think would go best with Michelob ULTRA Cider?
For the Sauce:
1 (12oz) bottle Michelob Ultra Cider
1 tbsp butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp fennel seed, toasted
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra
For the Chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp canola oil
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
sauce from above
Apple-Fennel Salad (recipe below)
Make the sauce:
Pour the Michelob Ultra Cider into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce cider in half until only 6oz remain. Remove from heat.
While the cider is reducing, preheat a saute pan over medium-low heat for 3 minutes. Add butter to the preheated pan until melted, then add minced onion, garlic & anchovies. Stir. Saute over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to turn translucent, about 7-9 minutes. If the garlic begins to brown, reduce the heat.
Add reduced cider, sauteed onion mixture and the rest of the ingredients for the sauce into a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with more kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Make the sauce at least 1 hour and up to 3 days in advance for flavors to marry before using. Reserve 1/3 of sauce for plating and vinaigrette.
Grill the Chicken:
Preheat/prepare a grill for medium to medium-high heat.
While the grill is being prepared, toss the chicken with canola oil then season on all sides with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Grill chicken over medium to medium high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, basting ever few minutes with the apple fennel sauce, marks. Flip and continue cooking for another 6-8 minutes, basting frequently, until the chicken is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the breasts. Remove from heat and let rest, covered loosely in foil for 10 minutes before serving.
To plate, place 1 chicken breast in the center of a plate, spoon 1/4 of the Apple-Fennel Salad over the chicken, then drizzle a spoonful of sauce around the plate. Repeat three more times for a total of four servings.
For the Vinaigrette:
2 tbsp Apple-Fennel Sauce (recipe above)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra
1/4 tsp kosher salt, plus extra
3 tbsp canola oil
For the Salad:
2 granny smith apples, core removed and very thinly sliced
2 bulbs fennel, very thinly sliced
3 tbsp fennel fronds, chopped
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Make the vinaigrette:
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients for the vinaigrette until well mixed. While continuously whisking, drizzle in the oil to form an emulsified dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Add all of the ingredients for the salad to a large bowl, drizzle with vinaigrette then toss to evenly coat. Taste salad and adjust seasoning as desired with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.