Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beer Braised Chicken with Bacon

Braising is such a simple and delicious preparation for various cuts of meat. It is also a great option for a party or larger get together, as you can use tougher, and therefore cheaper, cuts to meats to create the most amazing flavors. For my bacon and beer party, I wanted to use beer to braise some chicken thighs. The recipe came together as I figured out what I had on hand, bacon, onions, and some fresh thyme. I used a combination of chicken thighs and drumsticks, but just thighs will work well. This recipe could not be easier, after cooking the chicken, you just reduce the sauce and then serve! Easy, impressive and can easily (and cheaply) feed a crowd. I would recommend serving this with some quinoa or brown rice to add some fiber and soak up the sauce.

Get full recipe after the jump!
Braising Tips:
  • Meat should only be covered 50% by the cooking liquid. Any more, and it will be boiled, not braised
  • Make sure to pat the chicken dry - it will brown best this way
  • Use a good pot. Braising depends on the moisture inside the pot created by a tight fitting lid. I use my dutch oven, but any other quality shallow pot will do
  • The biggest braising mistakes are using too high a heat or too lean a meat. Keep the pot covered at a low heat, which will help break down the fibers of the meat while retaining its juices. If you use a lean cut of meat, like chicken breast, it will likely toughen, as there is not enough fat to sustain the cooking time.
  • Choice of liquid. Here, I was braising with beer, so it's important to choose the right one. I wanted something medium-bodied and not super heavy, but with enough flavor and complexity to compliment the dish. Since we're using cheaper cuts of meat, you can't cut corners on your choice of braising liquid. This is not a job for Bud Light. 
1/4 lb uncured thick cut bacon, chopped into 1/2" chunks
2lbs chicken thighs (or drumsticks, or a combination)
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
12 oz lager, I used Sam Adams Boston Lager, but any darker type lager will do
2 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1.5 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tbsp butter

Step by Step Instructions:

1. In a large dutch oven, cook bacon on med-low heat for 5-6 minutes, until slightly browned

2. Pat each piece of chicken with paper towels until totally dry

3. Turn heat up to medium and place each piece of chicken, skin side down, in the pot

4. Don't overcrowd the chicken, cook in shifts if you need to

5. Brown the chicken on each side for 4-5 minutes, until the skin is golden and slightly crisped

6. Remove chicken from pot

7. Add onions and garlic to bacon and saute until glassy, approx 6-8 minutes

8. Return chicken to pot. Nestle each pice along the bottom, among the bacon and onion mixture

9. Season with remaining salt and pepper

10. Pour beer over chicken, make sure beer only covers about 1/2 of each piece of chicken, rearrange the pieces or use less beer if necessary

11. Season with thyme

12. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook chicken 40-50 minutes, turning once. Cook more or less time depending on how crowded the pot is

13. Remove chicken, set aside

14. Whisk in flour and butter

15. Increase heat to medium and simmer sauce, uncovered, until reduced, 8-10 minutes

16. Arrange chicken on a serving tray, pour reduced sauce over chicken, garnish with fresh thyme

Labels: , ,


At November 30, 2011 at 8:58 PM , Anonymous claudia @whats cookin said...

It always amazed me how tender the chicken is with beer this looks very delicious!

At December 1, 2011 at 10:00 AM , Blogger Angie's Recipes said...

o my..that looks dang delicious and inviting!

At December 1, 2011 at 10:01 AM , Blogger Angie's Recipes said...

Seriously...I was about to lick the screen...LOL

At December 1, 2011 at 11:49 AM , Anonymous Katherine Martinelli said...

This has all my favorite ingredients - beer, chicken, and onions!! Looks delicious, warm, and comforting.

At December 4, 2011 at 1:04 AM , Blogger Kim Bee said...

This looks so delicious. Cooked to perfection. I've never tried mine with beer, must give this a go.

At December 5, 2011 at 12:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks absolutely AMAZING and your pictures are could fall in them!


Post a Comment

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. It means so much to me. Please let me know if you have questions about any of my recipes or if I forgot a step. Also, is there something you would like me to cook or a recipe to makeover? Let me know!

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home