By Gail Oberst
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Josh Cronin gets a faraway look in his eyes talking about the first time he ate foie gras at Little Bird Bistro in Portland. Before he bought his own little place on Main Street in Independence called The Three Legged Dog Public House, he had worked a variety of jobs — from archeology to marketing. He came to the area to work at Rogue Farms (“boot camp”), just six miles from his pub. Then in 2014, inspired to offer food that is fine and different, he opened the pub with partners.
“Willamette Valley people will travel for good food,” Cronin said. “If you create something good, people will come.”
Cronin said Audrey Wales, 21, is a young chef who will someday be a household name. Wales is not the least bit shy and despite her youth, she’s been a prep cook since she was a preteen. After earning her diploma from Independence’s Central High School, she graduated from the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute. The recipes featured here are hers and decidedly unique and delicious.
The Three Legged Dog is a small, family-comfortable local favorite, offering an assortment of local beers, wines, spirits and mixed drinks in a 1926 former Farmers State Bank building where original stained glass windows and tile and wood floors remain, as does the walk-in (or eat-in) bank vault. When I visited in early May, there was Breakside Brewery Stout, Silver Moon Brewing ISA, Occidental Brewing Company Altbier, Santiam Brewing Edelweissbier and Citrus Mistress from Hop Valley Brewing Co. You are likely to find something new on tap for the summer, but variety is the constant.
We chose the suggested beer pairings after trying several on tap and from my own “cellar” with the recipes featured. Occidental’s Altbier was a great beer for both dishes, bringing out the sweetness of the maple in the pork belly, and offsetting the tart rhubarb with caramel flavors. Surprising pepper flavors popped out on the back of my tongue as I washed the pork belly back with the pale ales. More hops would have masked the delicate bacon-y goodness, but a little certainly helped cut the soft fat, preparing my tongue for more. Possibly the best pair of the night was the fruit-forward Mazama Rasplendent, a witbier, which matched the sweet-tartness of the rhubarb hand pie, bite for sip.
Peppered, Maple-Glazed Pork Belly
Paired with Occidental Altbier, Salem Ale Works #503 Pale Ale, Worthy Prefunk Pale Ale
Recipe by Chef Audrey Wales
1 pound pork belly
3 celery stalks
1 teaspoon balsamic glaze
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
Salt and pepper to coat pork belly
—Cut onions, carrots and celery and place in the bottom of a roasting pan.
—Place pork belly over the vegetables. Coat with pepper, salt, sriracha and maple. Cover up to halfway with water, cover pan with foil.
—Braise for 3 hours, uncover and let the top caramelize to a golden brown.
—Cool. Cut one-inch slices and sear on a grill until golden. Serve with balsamic glaze, greens, sriracha and maple syrup.
Rhubarb Hand Pies
Paired with Mazama Rasplendent; Occidental Altbier
Recipe by Chef Audrey Wales
2 1/4 cups flour
8 tablespoons cold water
8 ounces cold butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
—Combine all in a food processor until dough forms and chill.
3 large rhubarb stalks, cut into cubes
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 ounce brandy
—Combine all in a pot and cook until rhubarb is tender.
—Cut rounds from the chilled pie dough and place rhubarb filling in the center.
—Place another round over the top and seal with a fork.
—Cut slits on the top of the pie and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Monthly recipes and pairings from your favorite brewpubs around Oregon.