The beer-battered crispy onion rings were cooked by my daughter and chef-in-training, Alex, but the recipe itself is from Alex Guarnaschelli. The title says the batter is made with beer but there’s really more to it than that. The batter has vodka, cayenne and paprika too. After frying, the foamy batter turns into a light and puffy crust with the smoky sweetness of paprika and the subtle heat from cayenne. Delicious!
We used to hate Alex Guarnaschelli big time when she was a judge on Food Network Challenge and Chopped, but we have since discovered that she’s a great cook. We stopped watching Food Network Challenge and Chopped many, many years ago but we don’t switch channels when Alex’s Day Off is on. We watch, we listen… we love watching her when she cooks. These days, what we have for her is respect as a cook.
You may read the recipe at The Food Network website but know that the recipe, as written there, is not the same as the one we saw Alex Guarnaschelli execute on her TV show. I don’t understand how the website editors could make so many mistakes in translating the recipe from video to text. Fortunately, the video is also available on the same page.
We had the beer-battered crispy onion rings yesterday, a side dish to the bread stuffed with beef and gravy. As delicious as Alex’s slow cooker beef and gravy was, there was way too much for one meal. Instead of simply reheating it, she chopped the meat, stirred in just enough gravy to moisten then she spread the mixture on her bread dough. For added eye candy, she folded the dough with a criss-cross pattern. And, for added crunch and flavor, yellow cornmeal and shredded cheese. What a fantastic lunch!
Alex’s Beer-battered Crispy Onion Rings
- 4 to 6 cups cooking oil
- 2 to 3 sweet white or yellow onions
- 2 tablespoons paprika divided
- 2 teaspoons cayenne divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 bottle beer
- 2 tablespoons vodka
Start heating the cooking oil in a pan. Ideally, the depth of the oil should be at least three inches. The ideal frying temperature is 350F to 375F.
Peel the onions. Cut into half-inch rounds. Separate into rings. Toss with half of the paprika and half of the cayenne.
Make the batter. Whisk the remaining paprika and cayenne with the flour. Pour in the vodka. Slowly pour in the beer while whisking at the same time.
Dump the onion rings into the batter. Mix thoroughly to coat each piece with batter.
Test the temperature of the oil by dropping in one onion ring. It should float and crackle, and bubbles should form around it. If the onion ring sinks and does not float within two seconds, the oil is not hot enough. If it browns within seconds, the oil is too hot. Make the necessary adjustments.
Drop the beer-battered onion rings in the hot oil one by one. Do this in batches to prevent overcrowding the pan. Overcrowding will make the temperature of the oil drop and that will result in soggy rather then crispy onion rings. Fry for one to two minutes or just until browned and crisp.
As each batch finishes cooking, scoop out and move to rack or a strainer. Proceed with the next batch, and so on.
Sprinkle the beer-battered crispy onion rings with salt and serve immediately with your preferred dipping sauce.