November 22nd, 2010
A French girl in Barcelona, my next door neighbour, cooked me chicken in beer about 20 years ago. This isn’t the same recipe, but it is an adaptation. In France it would be normal to use lager.
In Floyd on France, Keith Floyd tells us that chicken cooked in beer comes from Normandy – I’m sure that’s true but I suspect there are regional variations all over France. I went to the butchers today and they had French, black foot, free range chicken for £3.50 – a French inspired recipe seemed like the right way to show it some respect.
Chicken Cooked in Beer recipe:
1 good quality chicken (jointed)
1 litre of good beer (I used Boddingtons today)
1 large onion (chopped)
6 pieces of garlic (finely chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
2 sticks of celery (chopped)
some freshly chopped parsley
4 slices of streaky bacon (sliced)
2 knobs of butter
a little olive oil
1 bouquet garni
2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
2 heaped dessert spoons of plain flour
3 desert spoons of crème fraîche (traditional recipes would call for cream, I prefer something sharper)
salt and pepper to taste
Keith Floyd reccomends adding a small glass of Marc d’Alsace (that’s optional)
Heat a large cast iron casserole and brown the chicken pieces in some butter and olive oil with a little salt and pepper. Set the chicken pieces aside and fry the onions, followed by bacon, garlic, celery, carrot and finally the mushrooms. When all the vegetables have cooked for a while, sprinkle on a heaped desert spoonful of flour, which helps to thicken the sauce and return the chicken pieces to the casserole. Add the bouquet garni and pour on the beer – do not swamp the chicken, some of it can be sticking out (see the photo below). Heat the casserole until it’s almost boiling.
Put the lid on the casserole and place it in a preheated oven at 160º C. Cook the chicken for about an hour, then remove the cooking liquid. Keep the chicken warm, but there’s no need to cook it – just put the lid back on. Take a medium to large frying pan and melt a knob of butter in it. Stir in a heaped desert spoonful of flour and stir until the two combine. Slowly pour in the chicken and beer liquid while stirring to thicken the sauce. When the sauce starts to thicken, stir in 3 desert spoons of crème fraîche and taste the sauce. Add salt and pepper if it needs it and a teaspoon or two of balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the chopped parley over the top of the chicken and pour over the sauce.
Serve with boiled potatoes and seasonal vegetables.