In the summer, there’s nothing like a cold beer while sitting on the porch in the evening so we always seem to have beers in the refrigerator. I love braising chicken with beer because, while the alcohol cooks out in the slow-cooking process, a great, earthy flavor permeates the meat and the vegetables. This version, from Leite’s Culinaria, incorporates root vegetables to make the dish even heartier.
(image and recipe from Leite’s Culinaria)
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 canned 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.