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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beer-Braised Chicken

I have been absolutely dying to share this recipe with everybody.

I found this recipe for Beer-Braised Chicken when I was at the end of my pregnancy, right around the time that I became too exhausted to blog.  I'm pretty sure that it came from Food Network Magazine but I can't remember now.  But I can tell you that the half page I ripped out from where ever is tattered and covered in oil spatter.  And after the birth of my second son, when the majority of what we were eating came from previously frozen foods, I still found the time to make this every couple of weeks. 

Beer-Braised Chicken

1/4 lb slab or thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 lbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
All purpose flour, for dredging
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 12-oz bottle beer (preferably brown ale)
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
1/2 lb small red-skinned new potatoes, halved
2 tbsp whole-grain mustard
2 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp thyme (or 4 springs fresh)
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the bacon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

2.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off excess.  Add the olive oil to the drippings in the pot.  Add the chicken in batches and cook over medium-high heat until golden on the bottom, 6 to 7 minutes, then flip to sear on the other side, about 1 minute.

3.  Add the beer, onions, potatoes, mustard, sugar, thyme and 1 cup water to the pot and stir, making sure the chicken is fully submerged.  Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Discard thyme if using fresh and stir in bacon and parsley.

The Verdict:  This is one of my top five all-time favorite recipes.  Love, love, love it.

The whole family is in agreement that this is a great, flavorful home-cooked meal.  There's the rich and malty taste of the beer paired with the sweetness of the brown sugar and onions, mixed with the grainy flavor of the mustard.  So many deep flavors going on in this dish, all the while not being overly fussy.  And speaking of fussy, the preschooler will eat this dish every time I make it.

I always use turkey bacon in all of my cooking and this recipe is no exception.  It works just fine. 

This dish is great when paired with a nice crusty bread or a crisp salad.

I'm a new mom, so time is of the essence.  While this dish isn't ridiculously time consuming, it's also not a toss together and serve dish either.  Cooking the bacon, as well as dredging the chicken in flour and browning it, takes time.  So if you don't have at least 45 minutes to put into it, wait until a weekend to make it.  But make sure you do--this one is a keeper.

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