Beer-Braised Chicken with Root Vegetables

The toastiness of porter plus the sweetness of root vegetables and the spiciness of Dijon mustard create a stew full of contrasting, but harmonious, flavors. Slightly bitter with a deep coffeelike flavor, porter makes this braise rustic and hearty.–Kate McMillan

LC Our Kinda Braise Note

This simple recipe yields complex results. Our kinda braise. Beware, though, that much depends on the beer. Best make it a porter whose bitter notes you like. A lot. As to the chicken, a word to the wise: Leave the skin on during simmering if you’re so compelled, though it seems sorta a waste, seeing as it ends up soggy and there will just be more fat to skim.

Beer-Braised Chicken and Vegetables Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 8 skinless or skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 pounds total)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 to 6 medium red potatoes, peeled if desired, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 medium (about 14 ounces) celery root, peeled, trimmed, halved, and cut into 1-inch chunks (or substitute potatoes)
  • Two 12-ounce bottles porter
  • 2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions

  • 1. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. In a large, heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken, turning once or twice, until lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. (You may need to cook the chicken in batches.) Transfer to a plate.
  • 2. Pour off the fat from the pot, leaving just enough to barely coat the pot. With the heat still on medium, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onions and sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, and celery root, and stir in the porter, broth, sugar, mustard, tomato paste, and thyme. Return the chicken thighs to the pot, submerging them in the liquid, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  • 3. In a heatproof bowl using the back of a fork, mash together the remaining 5 tablespoons butter and the flour to form a thick paste. Gradually whisk about 2 cups hot cooking liquid into the flour-butter mixture, and then slowly but constantly stir this mixture into the pot. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • 4. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter. Skim any fat from the surface of the stew or, if you have a fat separator, dump the cooking liquid into it and pour off the fat. If you prefer a thicker sauce, return the liquid to the pot and simmer until the desired consistency is achieved. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper, then pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Scatter a pinch of parsley over the stew, if desired.
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Lynne Brenner

Feb 26, 2013

As promised, the recipe produced a hearty stew with deep flavors. The chicken was moist and the root vegetables sweet. I’m not sure that the celery root added all that much to the stew, and could be omitted since it’s not an item that’s usually kept on hand. The porter produced a lovely rich sauce that was enhanced by just the right amount of thyme. I didn’t really taste the mustard—perhaps that ingredient could be increased. A satisfying dish for a cold, snowy January night. Be sure to have plenty of crusty bread available to soak up every bit of the sauce.

Testers Choice
Linda Pacchiano

Feb 26, 2013

This recipe is super easy to put together and it produces a very satisfying and complete meal in one pot. The only addition might be some crusty bread to sop up the braising liquid and a nice green salad to start. The flavor of the braising liquid is quite bitter. I added a little more brown sugar after tasting the finished sauce to help balance the flavors. Next time, I’ll cut back on the ale and increase the amount of broth to reduce the bitterness a bit more. The chicken thighs are the most tender and tasty I’ve ever had and the root veggies were perfectly cooked in the time specified.

Testers Choice
Sita Krishnaswamy

Feb 26, 2013

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced cook, this is an easy recipe to whip up. It makes a large batch and is suitable for a crowd and/or leftovers for a weeknight meal. It took me a little over 10 minutes to fry up the entire batch of chicken and 30 minutes to simmer it. I melted the butter, let it cool, then added the flour and made a nice paste, which I then proceeded to add to the stew. The porter ale made it quite sweet, complementing the root vegetables. I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. I suggest adding 4 minced cloves of garlic. Perhaps 1 teaspoon more of thyme, a splash of lemon juice to tie it all together, and even a dash of chile flakes for that oomph. I think this recipe has great potential.

Testers Choice
Connie Lewis

Feb 26, 2013

When I read this recipe, I thought it’d be perfect for a January dinner. I was right. All the flavors worked together with a balance between sweetness and a slight tartness; the porter gave depth to the sauce. The celery root was an inspired choice.

Testers Choice
Kristina R.

Feb 26, 2013

I made this dish for a weeknight dinner. I omitted the celery root and substituted baby Yukon potatoes for red potatoes. I was a bit nervous that the flavor of the porter would overwhelm the dish, which it didn’t; rather, it added nice depth. The dish was a hit!

Testers Choice
Chiyo Ueyama

Feb 26, 2013

My tasters said they’d eat this dish again, and I’ll definitely make it again! The braised chicken was delicious and plentiful, and we didn’t have to wait for hours before enjoying it. Everything was perfectly tender and the deeply flavored sauce was fantastic (bread on the side is a must!). I could’ve easily fed more than 4 people, as the thighs were quite big (8 chicken thighs totaling about 3 1/2 pounds), and 1 was enough for a serving. Depending on what’s available and your preferences, I think you can be flexible with the vegetables: more or less of what the recipe calls for, or add other ones such as parsnips.

Testers Choice
Colleen Bloxham

Feb 26, 2013

A delightful one-pot chicken dish that’s hearty and simple all at the same time. A good dark beer can be quite the addition to the dinner table especially when combined with all the makings of a luscious stew. I found the recipe to be a very simple dish with lots of rustic flavor, deep nuttiness, and a generous helping of chicken. The ingredients are a classic combination of tomato, celery root, Dijon, and thyme, making for a heavenly gravy once it’s finished with the roux (butter and flour). I served it alongside a very creamy garlic mash and some crisp-tender broccoli. It was a hit with all the family.

Testers Choice
Bette Fraser

Feb 26, 2013

After a day of skiing, I came home and quickly prepared this delicious dish for my family. What a hit! A brilliant combination of underutilized chicken thighs (I used boneless) and celery root, which marry perfectly with porter (I used Black Butte Porter by Deschutes Brewery, which has notes of coffee and chocolate). I think next time I’d add a bit more carrot and maybe another potato. In addition, a nice dose of salt and pepper is certainly welcome to flavor your broth prior to serving.

Testers Choice
Emma Rudolph

Feb 26, 2013

This is a delicious and hearty stew, which comes together in about an hour, prep work included. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this considering I’m not a beer drinker. The porter added a nice richness to the chicken, but did overpower the sauce slightly. I’d add some fresh chopped parsley to the final presentation for some nice brightness. I’d vote this a weeknight winner for the convenience and heartiness of this one-pot meal.

Testers Choice
Jill R.

Feb 26, 2013

This recipe makes a nice rich and hearty stew that’s wonderful on a cold winter night. The hardest part for me was actually finding celery root or celeriac for it. Even when only making half the recipe, it still works. The only changes I’d make would be to add a few cloves of smashed garlic to the onions while sautéing them, and perhaps a bay leaf or two to the pot while it simmers. And if you like your chicken skin on the crunchy side, pull the thighs out after they’re done, while you’re thickening the sauce, and broil them for a few minutes. Then place them back in the pot.


Comments
Comments
  1. Jamie says:

    I hate beer. But the few things I have had cooked with beer – like a Guinness Lamb Stew – that specific beery bitter taste matched wonderfully with the meet (or chocolate) and added an amazing complexity to the dish. This one sounds so delicious. I think the porter along with the root vegetables would give this chicken “stew” a decidedly winter edge.

  2. Artist Patti says:

    Jill R – I’d do without the bay leaf but broiling the skin is a great idea!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      I’m actually with you on the bay, Patti. I think it’d be just dandy without it. The porter and other ingredients offer more than enough flavor. Looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

  3. Paul Carroll says:

    I think I will roast the chicken separately until almost done, and then pour off all but a couple of Tbsp. of the grease and make a chicken gravy in the pan. Then use the gravy to thicken the casserole instead of adding the flour mixture and trying to work it into the crowded pot. And I am with Jill on the garlic; gotta have garlic with chicken.

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