We’re delighted to bring you our first homespun recipe, courtesy of Crafty reader Jenn Davidson, wife of November’s Blogger of the Month James and a fairly recent convert to the world of craft beer. Inspired in part by Masterchef and by visits to Australian microbreweries where they were using beer in their restaurant kitchens, she began looking into the world of beer and food and embarked upon her own creations, including the chicken dish below made using Holgate’s Double Trouble Ale.
“I started researching online and discovered there was this whole world out there, not just savoury but sweet food as well,” says Jenn. “I’ve never been a huge fan of cooking, but figured if you have to do something you might as well make it interesting for yourself.”
The experimentation has already thrown up such treats as Imperial Stout cup cakes made with Dieu de Ciel’s Peche Mortel.
“They turned out really, really well and I’ve not had many disasters,” says Jenn. “I started out with the pizza base from Chris Badenoch’s blog and when that turned out well it gave me the confidence to try other things.”
Double Trouble Chicken
Preparation Time: Approx 20mins
Cooking Time: Approx 50mins
Ingredients (serves four):
500g chicken thigh*
½ teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil (or butter)
5 shallots, roughly diced (not finely though)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or if you like garlic as much as me, use 4 cloves)
4 small potatoes, quartered
1 large carrot, cubed
1 ½ cups Portobello mushrooms, chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon plain flour or corn flour
½ cup chicken stock
1 bottle Holgate Double Trouble (or any Belgian dubbel)
1 tablespoon thyme (I use fresh)
Splash of Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
Cut the chicken thighs into quarters and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and ¼ teaspoon of paprika, then give a good toss to season the meat. Place this aside while you cut up all the other vegetables.
Heat olive oil (or butter) over medium heat in a deep pot. Cook chicken pieces until nicely browned (about 5 mins each side), then remove to a plate.
Turn heat down slightly and cook shallots in the leftover oil & chicken fat, stirring regularly, until they begin to soften. Add garlic and cook for about a minute, then add mushroom and sautí© until they begin to soften Add carrots and potatoes, mix and allow to cook for a few minutes.
Sprinkle flour, salt, pepper and remaining paprika, over the entire mixture and stir well with a wooden spoon to coat everything in the flour and make sure it is all well combined.
Pour in chicken stock, then beer (which will foam up slightly), and stir well. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any flavoursome caramelised bits.
Add the chicken back to the pan and try to make sure all the pieces are completely submerged. Turn the heat up and bring to the boil. Add thyme. Cover and turn down the heat to simmer for about 40-45 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and the chicken starts to fall apart. Add a splash of Worstershire sauce.
After 40-45 minutes**, take the lid off and simmer for a further 5-10 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce slightly.
Service with brown rice, pasta, polenta, crusty bread – anything you fancy! And, of course, have a few more beers ready to accompany the dish. Yum.
*I use skinless, boneless thigh fillets because they are easy, tasty and a little leaner, but you can use almost any cut – with or without skin and bones. (Breast alone is a little bland and dry for this kind of dish.) If you are cooking for a big group, it might even be worth trying it with a whole chicken, cut into manageable pieces – but you will probably need to double all other ingredients, including the beer!
** When using lovely-legs or whole chicken, you should see the meat falling off the bone – and then you know it is ready!
The Davidsons have also cooked this dish with Leffe Brune and Grimbergen Dubbel and found “each has worked wonderfully for flavour and texture”. So there you go – get cooking!
And, if you’ve got any recipes of your own you’d like to share, from simple nibbles to go with your beer or something off the wall, feel free to send them to us at email@example.com.