Posted by: acooksca | 06/28/2010

Chicken Braised in Dark Beer and Sweet Spices

Chicken Braised in Dark Beer and Sweet Spices

Countries known for their breweries, such as Belgium, are also known for using their brews in cooking much the way wine is used in wine producing countries. This recipe calls for a dark beer, the darker the better, as a marinade and sauce base for chicken.

Start the recipe 4 hours or one day ahead to allow the chicken to absorb a subtle flavor from the marinade. The marinade is then used to braise the chicken and as the sauce.

One 5 lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces on the bone
1 red onion, peeled and cut into half moons
8 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
1 large carrot, chopped coarsely
1 bottle dark beer such as Sierra Nevada Porter
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces tomato sauce
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and pepper
1 cup chicken stock

4 hours to 24 hours ahead:
Combine first 12 ingredients (all except the oil, salt and pepper and 1 cup chicken stock), in a large bowl or plastic container and marinate room temperature for 4 hours or refrigerated over night.

Place a baking dish large enough to allow the chicken to braise in one layer in the oven and heat to 350. Remove the chicken from the marinade, pat dry and season well with salt and pepper. Pour the marinade (with onions, etc) into a large sauté pan and heat over medium-high. Allow marinade to simmer for 5 minutes, occasionally skimming and discarding any scum that arises to the top. Pour the marinade into the baking dish in the oven.

Wipe out the sauté pan with paper towels and return to medium-high heat. When pan is quite hot add a thin layer of oil and half the chicken parts, skin side down. Let brown well without moving, about 3-5 minutes. Turn pieces and continue browning. Remove chicken to the baking dish, nestling the pieces skin side up in the liquid. Continue browning the remaining chicken and placing it in the baking dish. Pour the oil out of the pan, return pan to heat and add the remaining 1 cup chicken stock. Boil briefly, scraping up the darkened bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Pour this liquid into the baking dish. Cover the dish with foil. Braise until all pieces are tender and cooked through, about 25-30 minutes (longer and the chicken could dry out).

Remove the chicken to a serving platter and keep covered, warm. Puree the marinade with the solids in a food processor to a slightly chunky consistency. Pour this sauce into a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the liquid to about 2 cups. Taste the sauce, adding salt and pepper if needed. Serve the chicken and pass the sauce separately to moisten the chicken.

Cook’s note: Potatoes, rice or buttered pasta should be served with the chicken to take advantage of the braising liquid. I like to complete the dish with saffron and cardamom flavored rice, bringing out the sweet spices in the recipe.


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