Beer Braised Chicken

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.

Beer-Braised Chicken with Root Vegetables

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
3.5/5 - 2 reviews
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Ingredients

  • 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)

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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Recipe Testers Reviews

This beer braised chicken is an amazing dish! This is hands-down the best chicken I've ever made. The list of ingredients looks daunting, but it's so simple to prepare and the flavor is complex, rich, and dynamic. The hardest part was finding porter. I finally found a coffee porter and used that. Be warned this makes a LOT of sauce, but that's okay as it's great to soak up with a nice bread. The only complaint I have is the vegetables in the recipe weren't really enough for 4 people. I will certainly make this again but will add more veggies to make it a truly one-pot meal.

As promised, this beer braised chicken 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.

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.

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.

When I read this beer braised chicken 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.

My tasters said they’d eat this beer braised chicken again and I’ll definitely make it again! The 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 to mop up the sauce! I could’ve easily fed more than 4 people. 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.

This beer braised chicken is 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 broccoli. It was a hit with all the family.

After a day of skiing, I came home and quickly prepared this delicious beer braised chicken 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 at the end is certainly welcome prior to serving.

This beer braised chicken 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.

I made this beer braised chicken 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!

This beer braised chicken 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. The only changes I’d make would be to add a few cloves of smashed garlic to the onions while sautéing them and to perhaps toss in a bay leaf or two into 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, broil them for a few minutes, and then place them back in the pot.

Comments

  1. I hate beer. But in the few things I have had that were cooked in beer—including a Guinness Lamb Stew—that bitter beery taste matched wonderfully with the meat 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. 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.

  3. I have this simmering on the pot right now. I’m not sure about the rave reviews. It is good but rave??? There is quite a lot of sauce but I did have a 6lb very happy organic chicken so put in a third bottle of beer and extra stock and extra veggies as well. I used a dark Canada Ale which is bitter and the flavours are definitely rich but to me it tastes like a lot of stews – nothing extraordinary. LOL! Perhaps you’re saying – what does she expect when she doesn’t follow our recipe:). I added garlic because I cannot think of a single dish without garlic. I think I am going to get all the meat and veggies out now and reduce the sauce. That might make the difference?

    1. Sagar, I gotta say, you took the words right out of my mouth: “What does she expect when she doesn’t follow our recipe!!” You’ve created a different dish by using a different kind of meat (white and dark meat), adding more liquid, and changing the flavor profile. I think your instincts about reducing the sauce is right, but the bitter ale might overpower it. Let me know what you think.

      1. I am going to try this again with just thighs and follow the recipe exactly and see how it turns out. As I said, it was good but definitely not great as per the reviews. The dark ale worked very well – gave a richness but no bitterness. The mustard didn’t seem to add anything? I always wonder about chicken recipes that call for chicken stock as well. Isn’t that a luxury and not something that would have happened in the old days? If you are using fabulous organic chicken you should be able to use just water, no?

        1. Sagar, do let me know what you think when you follow the recipe. Also, an ingredient like mustard, in this quantity, can lend a subtle undertone to the dish, and with its acidity can enhance other flavors without being too discernible on its own. And as far as chicken stock being a luxury in the old days, it was the opposite! It was frugality at its highest. Cooks like my grandmother would make stock from the carcasses, and any leftover vegetables, to extract every last bit of flavor and extend their pantries. Nothing went to waste.

  4. Okay, so I just bought this great pot at TJ Maxx, and was trying to think of the first thing I could make in it…This dish is it! I am a 100% dark meat girl, and this recipe looks absolutely fabulous. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Hello. I found this recipe while looking for a slow cooker beer chicken recipe. I would like to adapt this recipe for my slow cooker. Any tips? I’m thinking that I could do the braising part first then add Chicken & vegetables (step 3) to the slow cooker. When the chicken & vegetables are cooked I can make the sauce and add it in. Thoughts? Also, I would use bone-in breast & thighs. I like white meat & my husband likes dark.
    Thank you,
    Amy Crockett
    acrockett731@gmail.com

    1. Amy, lovely to hear that you’ll be making it. You’re definitely on the right track. We would suggest you brown the chicken in step one, then add all ingredients to your slow cooker. The amount of liquid will need to be reduced by about half, and we suggest reducing both the stock and the porter in equal amounts so as not to not alter the flavor profile. You’re probably looking at 3 to 4 hours on high until you have beer-braised chicken awesomeness. Fine to use both breasts and thighs although if the breasts are ginormous, as some are, relative to the thighs, you may want to consider cutting them in half crosswise. Kindly let us know how it goes!

  6. I was looking forward to this recipe and, honestly, it was just too bitter. I used less beer than recommended but no matter what I did to mitigate the bitterness, it just didn’t work. Pity.

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