The cold has finally been conquered. I can now happily breathe deeply, which I am incredibly thankful for; not being able to smell this Beer Braised Chicken would be a major bummer.
Today I am here to tell you about braising and why you should start braising ALL THE THINGS.
“But Jess, I don’t know how to braise. It sounds hard. Can’t I just roast or saute or fry?”
Friends, you could absolutely do all of those things, but make no mistake: braising is one of the easiest, most affordable ways to put a hearty dish on your dinner table with little effort.
With braising, you can take seemingly tough pieces of meat or poultry, in this case chicken thighs, and turn them into moist, fall-off-the-bone-tender cuts in no time.
Those tough pieces that turn tender also happen to be the perfect bargain in my book. Sure, a choice-cut steak sounds good, but it’s also a bit pricey for my budget. With this Beer Braised Chicken recipe, you can feed 6-8 people at just about $2.50 a serving!
Or you can feed two very hungry college graduates for a few days, pretty impressive considering how my stomach is a never-ending black hole.
Braising refers to a cooking method that is similar to stewing, the major difference being that you only partially submerge the food in liquid. This liquid, unlike the soupy mixture of a stew, gently cooks into a wonderful sauce that you can (and should) pour all over your finished dish once it’s done.
For example, pouring the braising liquid from this dish over, say, a rich and creamy pumpkin risotto, is highly
“But Jess, risotto is hard.”
Fear not, my friends! Risotto does not need to be difficult. It only needs a little bit of TLC, and you can absolutely do it while your beer-braised chicken slowly simmers on another burner. Braising is so low effort, you’ll want to start braising everything you can get your hands on.
Now, if you absolutely, positively, do not want to make risotto, feel free to just make the braised chicken portion of this recipe and serve it over your favorite mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice. It will still keep you warm, cozy, and full all Autumn long.
For those of you who trust me that risotto is indeed a feasible project (virtual high-five!) I will tell you the tricks I’ve learned to make risotto a totally attainable, and addicting, dish.
One: keep your stock warm on a separate burner. Doing this helps the rice more easily absorb the stock, keeps the liquid from lowering the entire temperature of the risotto pot (which would then need to come back up to a gentle bubble) and cuts down your cooking time.
Two: don’t feel like you need to stir like a madman. It’s okay to leave the pot alone for a minute or two. Let the rice do its thing and soak up the stock. Give it a stir here and there to check the consistency, and once your spoon leaves a clean trail behind it through the risotto, you know you can add more stock. If a bunch of liquid follows your spoon and quickly covers the bottom of the pot, then you know there’s still plenty in there and you should hold off until it gets absorbed.
Three: take a deep breath and believe in yourself! I’m serious. If you freak yourself out and turn risotto into this unattainable food in your mind, it will affect your cooking experience. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s just food.
I hope you take the plunge and try out the full recipe, since the pumpkin risotto pairs so perfectly with the pumpkin beer in the braised chicken! This recipe is sure to be one of your new go-to fall favorites; I know it’s one of mine
Your Humble Narrator and Broke Food Blogger,