For this beer braised chicken, chicken thighs and root vegetables–onion, carrots, potatoes, and celery root–are simmered low and slow in porter. Brown sugar, Dijon mustard, tomato paste, and thyme round out the flavors. Note: Many porters tend to be bitter, so if you’re not a fan of bitter, try a less aggressive brown ale.
This simple beer braised chicken recipe is simple to make, complex in taste. And your only role is to toss some ingredients in a pot and let them slowly burble and bubble on the back burner. In the words of the author, “the toastiness of the porter plus the sweetness of root vegetables and the spiciness of Dijon mustard create a stew full of contrasting, but harmonious, flavors.” In other words, magic. Be warned, though, that much depends on your selection of beer. You can’t just crack open a PBR and dump it in the pot. Best to opt for a slightly bitter porter, as the bitterness lends a complex richness to the sauce, but doesn’t actually come through in the resulting chicken dish. It just sorta smooths all the rough edges. Which is exactly what we—and, probably, you—could use after a long day. Originally published February 26, 2013.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Beer Braised Chicken
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 4 to 6
- 8 skinless or skin-on chicken thighs (3 1/2 lbs)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 oz), at room temperature
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch (25 mm) chunks
- 4 to 6 medium red potatoes, peeled if desired, cut into 1-inch (25 mm) chunks
- 1 medium celery root, peeled, trimmed, halved, and cut into 1-inch (25 mm) chunks (or substitute potatoes)
- Two (12-ounce) bottles porter (its slightly bitter, coffee-like overtones make this stew robust and lovely although you could opt for a slightly less bitter brown ale)
- 2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- 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.