Monday, January 2, 2012

Dinner Tonight - Beer-Braised Chicken

Tonight attempted my first braise of chicken, and second braise ever. Recipe called for chicken thighs, but I had chicken quarters (bought on sale!), so I used both the legs and thighs.  I used Rachael's Ray's recipe for the ingredients, but used Stella Culinary recipe for the method.  Rachael Ray's didn't cook in the oven or reduce the sauce until it was thick. Enjoyed making this, nice to be able to clean up the kitchen and rest while the chicken is in the oven. Will definitely make again; the sauce was very flavorful and rich and the chicken moist and skins crispy (well at least before I drenched with sauce! Won't do that next time).

Rachael Ray's recipe:


  • 8 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 link andouille sausage, casing removed and chopped, or 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle lager beer
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with chiles or stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • Scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • Warm baguette, for mopping


Pat the chicken thighs dry, and season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the chicken and brown on both sides in 2 batches.  (Here I referred to Stella recipe for how long to brown, etc).
Remove the chicken to a plate and spoon out 1/2 the drippings, and add the andouille sausage. Brown for 2 minutes and then add the onion, celery, pepper, garlic, and thyme, and cook to soften, for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
Add the flour, stir 1 to 2 minutes, and then pour in the beer and let the foam subside. Stir in the tomatoes, stock, and hot sauce. Let the sauce thicken a bit, and then slide the chicken into the pot and simmer to cook through. (Here is where I jumped to other recipe completely. I only added chicken back to simmer, put in oven, and continued with Stella's recipe). 

Stella Culinary blog recipe:
How To Braise Chicken Thighs

Start by searing the chicken over medium-high heat, skin side down in a heavy bottom sauté pan, and then flip it over when the skin becomes a beautiful golden brown. The crispy skin is 80% of my motivation to eat chicken in the first place and is the secret to any great chicken dish.

Once the chicken skin is nice and crispy, remove it from the pan and set aside.
(skip to Rachael's recipe for cooking vegetables, etc, up to point where chicken is added back to sauce)
After the above ingredients have gotten good and acquainted, add in enough chicken stock to cover the thighs by 3/4s, leaving only the skin exposed.

Like I said before, there is nothing better than good, crispy, chicken skin, and soaking them in braising liquid for an hour ruins all the hard work that it took to get them to that beautiful state in the first place. Notice in the picture below, the chicken thighs are carefully nestled in the pan so that the whole thigh is covered except for the skin. This is the secret to perfectly braised chicken thighs!

Once you have all the chicken thighs submerged in the braising liquid, bring it to a simmer on your stove top and then place into a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the thighs.

When the thighs have braised for about an hour, pull them out of the oven and remove the chicken thighs from the pan, setting them aside on a clean plate for later.

Place the sauté pan back on your stove top and turn your burner to medium-high heat and allow the braising liquid to reduce by about 3/4s or until it becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Now it's time to eat!