Braised chicken isn’t easy to photograph even if you are an ace photographer (which I’m definitely not!). In fact, I hesitated to blog this recipe as I just couldn’t get photographs I was happy with. However what my Beer Braised Chicken lacks in looks it more than makes up for in taste and it’s just too delicious not to share.
The beauty of beer braised chicken is that unlike roast chicken, it is always moist and delicious. Because it’s cooked actually in liquid, all the moisture gets sealed in, and even a tougher bird can end up tasting juicy. It’s also incredibly flavourful as the herbs and spices soak in with the cooking liquid and really permeate the meat.
This means you need to use a deeply flavourful beer – definitely not a ‘light’ beer or lager. I chose Duchy Originals Old Ruby Ale but any full bodied ale will work beautifully. Even if you are not a huge fan of darker beers – I rarely drink them – the flavour mellows as it cooks and makes the chicken utterly mouthwatering.
Another thing that helps make the chicken extra moist is cooking it upside down on its breast. I know it sounds strange, but it really works.
My Braised Chicken smells amazing while it’s cooking and tastes great served traditionally with potatoes and vegetables or in your favourite chicken dishes. I get the largest bird that will fit in my Le Creuset casserole so that I’ve got lots of lovely leftovers to use up in pasta and casserole dishes.
- 2 to 3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil (I use mild olive oil)
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 whole large chicken, giblets removed
- 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut in chunky batons
- 1 bottle (500 ml or 2 cups) real ale (I used Duchy Organic Old Ruby Ale)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon corn flour
- 1 - 2 tablespoons water
- You need a large Dutch Oven, casserole or Le Creuset casserole with a lid that is safe to use on both the stove top and in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch Oven, casserole or Le Creuset casserole over medium heat.
- Sauté the onions for about five minutes, stirring almost constantly.
- Add the mushrooms and a bit more oil if necessary. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms have softened.
- Remove the onions and mushrooms from the pan and keep warm.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan, and brown the chicken on all sides until the skin has begun to take on a burnished glow. Finish with the chicken upside down on its breast.
- Return the onions and mushrooms to the pan, scattering them over and around the chicken.
- Add the carrots, celery, oregano, thyme, a pinch of salt and a good grinding of pepper.
- Pour the beer over top of the chicken and vegetables and put the lid on the casserole.
- Put the casserole the oven for an hour.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and baste the chicken.
- Return the casserole to the oven and cook for a further thirty to sixty minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. (The general rule is 20 minutes per pound plus 20 minutes. Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F and no pink remains inside.)
- When the chicken is cooked, remove the casserole from the oven and place on a heat proof surface.
- To make the gravy, take most of the liquid off the chicken using a baster and transfer it to a medium saucepan.
- Bring the liquid in the saucepan up to the boil, stirring constantly.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of corn flour with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to make a smooth paste.
- Gradually whisk this paste into the bubbling chicken juices, stirring constantly.
- Cook until the mixture thickens up a bit, stirring constantly. Taste for seasoning.
- Serve the chicken with the gravy and vegetables.
Shared with Simple Supper Tuesday