Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beer Braised Chicken Stew with Baby Bellas & Fire Roasted Tomato

Now that's what I call stew!
I am in the midst of my full blown love affair with fall food, and tonight is the first night of the season that I made a nice slow cooked meal.  Stews are a wonderful way to make a big batch of food that's perfect for leftovers - in fact, oftentimes they taste even better the next day.

The one problem that I have with stews, is that too many people make pasty, ugly, grayish-brown stews.  Cornstarch thickeners, unidentifiable proteins & vegetables bits with gloppy sauce... no likey!  This is so easily avoided by using the right blend of veggies, and carefully cooking all of your ingredients in stages.  This might take a bit longer, but it is so worth it - each ingredient is cooked properly to bring out its best, and then added back in at the end. Below, you'll find a recipe that I made up tonight where the broth is a lovely orangeish-red brew of umami deliciousness, with tender chicken and a great blend of veggies who's flavors really sing.  I served it with toasted english muffins and a simply dressed green salad on the side.

  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into stew size pieces
  • 8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced (each mushroom is slightly larger than a golf ball. If you can't find baby bellas, use your choice of mushroom - white button would be fine)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 parsley stems, leaves removed and set aside. 
  • 1 bottle of beer (I used Sam Adams Oktoberfest)
  • 1 32 oz box of reduced sodium chicken broth
  • Flour
  • Paprika
  • Dried Thyme
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • S&P
  • EVOO
  • Butter
In a large dutch oven, melt 2 T butter, and add enough EVOO to just cover the bottom of the pan.  Take your chicken pieces, and season with S&P and sprinkle with paprika, a bit of ground nutmeg, and 2 T of flour (the flour helps the broth thicken later on). Toss to coat.  Cook the pieces of chicken over medium high heat until golden, but not necessarily cooked through.  Make sure not to crowd the pan so that the meat browns and doesn't steam, so this will take a couple of batches.  Remove chicken, and set aside.

Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and cook over medium heat until they release their liquid. Season with S&P, a generous sprinkle of dried thyme, and a small sprinkle of ground nutmeg.  Continue to cook until nicely browned and cooked down.  Remove, and set aside. 

If necessary, you can add a bit more EVOO & butter at this stage. Add your diced onion, season with S&P and cook over medium heat until completely translucent, and just starting to brown, approximately 5-7 minutes.  Add your shallots and garlic, and cook until translucent, approximately 3-5 minutes.  Add your sliced carrots.  Sauté over medium heat for another 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.  

Add the beer, chicken broth, and the parsley stems. Scrape the bottom of the pan to release all of the caramelized cooking goodness.  Bring up to a low boil and then add the chicken and mushrooms back into the pot. Cook at a low boil for about 10 minutes so that the alcohol cooks out.  Remove the parsley stems, and add the can of tomato.  Turn temperature to low, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes.  This is when all the flavors marry, and the beer does its job of tenderizing the chicken.  At this point, you can taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. You can either serve now with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley on top, or continue to cook uncovered until it reduces to your liking.

What's your favorite kind of stew?


  1. Looks delicious! Jeff ordered us a slow-cooker w/ some 'gift catalog' thing from his employer, so maybe I'll figure out a way to make this in there, until I get a dutch oven. I can always brown & sautee the veggies in a skillet before hand. :)

  2. @Off the Cuff - I have a few slow cooker recipes that were recommended to me as AWESOME, but I have yet to try (no slow cooker!). I'll send them you're way, and maybe you can see how they come out?

    For this recipe, I think if you sautéed your mushrooms and browned your chicken ahead of time, you could probably combine the rest of the ingredients all at the same time and have a successful recipe!