The process of braising meats is somewhat of a lost art, but one that we really should revisit more often. For generations people have been using this method of cooking to cook meats low and slow, which helps the flavors develop and also helps tenderize the meat. Not only does braising deliver a super tender cut of meat, it is also a very simple process.
Braising is simply browning meat, poultry or vegetables in fat, such as olive oil or butter, then tightly covering the pot and cooking the foods at a low temperature for an extended amount of time. This works extremely well with less expensive cuts of beef. If you find chuck, round or rump roasts on sale, these are all great cuts of beef that will benefit from the slow roasting effects of braising, and you can save some money, too.
For this dish we used chicken drumsticks, which I love to experiment with. Chicken drumsticks and thighs have so much more flavor than white meat, and were even better in this dish when they were slowly braised in a rich, dark beer. We added small pearl onions and a generous amount of mushrooms to give this dish a nice earthy flavor, and the white wine and herb broth brought all of the delicate flavors together. Enjoy!!
1 TB Olive Oil
10 - 12 Chicken Drumsticks (or substitute thighs)
1 cup Flour
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
2 TB Butter
1 TB Olive Oil
2 cups Frozen Pearl Onions, defrosted
16 oz Button or Portobello Mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 TB Minced Garlic
1 12 oz Bottler Dark Beer
1 cup College Inn White Wine and Herb Chicken Broth
2 Bay Leaves
2 TB Flour
2 TB Milk
Additional Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper, as needed
Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based pot, over medium-high heat. (A cast iron dutch oven works great for braising.) Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, then add chicken to the pan and sear on all sides until golden brown, about 8 minutes total. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover to keep warm.
Add the butter and 1 TB olive oil to the pan. When butter is melted add the onions, mushrooms and garlic to the pan and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the beer and continue to stir, reducing the sauce to about half. Add the broth and bay leaves to the pan and stir.
Return the chicken to the pot, nestling the chicken into the sauce and vegetables, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 45 minutes over medium-low heat.
When ready to serve, remove and discard the bay leaves, then remove the chicken to a platter and combine the flour and milk in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Add a few spoons of the braising liquid to the flour and milk mixture, then add the mixture to the pot. Cook for 3 - 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Serve the chicken over rice or noodles with a generous spoonful of sauce on top.