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Kate's Belgian Chicken Braised in Beer

by Kate Heyhoe

 

Chicken Braised in Beer

Serves 4

This is good, hearty food on a cold night. To serve six, just add more chicken pieces and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Use any full-flavored, slightly sweet, dark beer. My personal favorite for cooking and drinking is Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale; it's not too bitter and not too sweet, a rich and nutty blend. It's also easier to find in supermarkets than true Belgian ales. In this dish, the bacon adds salt and smokiness, while carrots and potatoes enrich the braising liquid with their own natural sweetness. A package of peeled baby carrots saves chopping time, and I leave potatoes in their jackets, unpeeled—the skin and the surface just below it is loaded with flavor and nutrients.

  • 3 onions (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 pound peeled baby carrots or chopped, peeled regular carrots
  • 1 russet potato (about 12 ounces), unpeeled or peeled
  • 1/4 pound sliced bacon, in 1/4- to 1/2-inch wide pieces
  • 3 pounds chicken pieces, with or without skin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 bottle (1 pint, 2.7 ounces) Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale
         or other dark beer (amount can be approximate)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Slice the onions into thin wedges, similar in width to the carrots for even cooking. Chop the potato into similar size pieces. Set aside.

2. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

3. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides in the bacon fat. Remove the chicken and set aside. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of fat in the pot.

4. In the same pot over medium heat, cook the onions, carrots, potatoes, and sugar until the onions and carrots start to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Crumble in the thyme and stir in the flour. Allow the flour to cook through, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the beer and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return the chicken to the pot and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt.

6. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover and simmer 30 minutes on low heat, or until chicken is just cooked through. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and most of the bacon (reserve a few pieces for garnish). Bring to a boil and boil uncovered a minute or so until the mixture thickens slightly. Just before serving add the remaining tablespoon of vinegar and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle the reserved bacon and parsley on top and serve with hot, crusty bread.

Guide to Cooking with Beer
 

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This page modified October 2010


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