A lot Some of the things I eat won’t win any style points. There are all of these studies and diets about eating the colors of the rainbow. What about brown braised chicken in a brown sauce with mostly brown vegetables? Brown food = comfort food. Fact. I sometimes consider whether I should post some of these less-attractive things, but c’mon. This is real life.
Braising isn’t something I do often, at least not consciously. I don’t really think a whole lot about cooking methods in general [unless it’s sous-vide or deep frying, then pass]. End results only. Cooking with beer is also something I don’t do very often, and the idea of cooking with a porter of all things is particularly intriguing. Dark beers are generally my favorite beers. The lower the IBUs the better. Braising some skin-on thighs and some root vegetables seemed like a logical choice to create a pot of comfort. The sauce that is created at the end is slightly sweet on top of already sweet root vegetables. I highly suggest taking the time to get a crusty sear on the thighs. No, seriously, do it. Mine turned out a little less so, and then turned soft after all the braising. The texture turned out only ok. I couldn’t help but wonder just how much better the chicken would have been. They are thighs so they can take the abuse of longer cooking times that breasts can’t. Also, this was one of the first times I’ve cooked with a celery root. I’m a fan. You can give me just about any root vegetable and I’ll be happy.
The full-size recipe is below. I reduced it by about half when I made it because we’re only two people and I couldn’t possibly fit all those thighs in the Dutch oven without making batches. Who has time for that? Not me.
It is definitely a solid and comforting recipe, but the odds of me making it again are probably slim. I would rather roast the root vegetables until they’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, then pan sear the thighs and call it a day. It probably would have been prettier, too. Assuming I cared about such things.
- Four skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 7 tablespoons butter, room temp and separated into 2 + 5 tablespoons
- 1 large yellow onion, rough chop
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 red potatoes, chopped
- 1 celery root, peeled and chopped
- 2 bottles of porter
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper
Pat the chicken dry. Even if it seems dry already, do it again. This has been huge to my cooking successes lately. Season liberally with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil on medium high heat. Let the oil get really hot. Sear the chicken on all sides. Work in batches. Crowding the pan does nothing for a good sear. When they’re brown, remove the chicken to a paper towel lined plate/pan to rest.
Drain the rendered fat from the pan and add two tablespoons of butter. Once it’s melted, add the chopped onion. Sauté for several minutes until the color is glossy and golden. It’ll take at least 5-7 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables, porter, chicken broth, sugar, mustard, tomato paste, and thyme. Stir until everything is well combined. Make sure to scrape up some of the goodies from the bottom of the pan that have collected from the chicken and the onions.
Nestle the chicken thighs into the pot. Try to submerge them as much as possible. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pot and allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes. When you’re approaching the 30 minute mark, mash together the remaining five tablespoons of butter with the flour in a large bowl that can hold at least 3 cups of liquid. The butter/flour mixture should look like a thick paste. Add two cups of the braising liquid to the paste and whisk to combine. Add this mixture back to the pot. Stir well and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste the braising liquid for additional salt and pepper before serving.