Braising chicken thighs is one of my favorite cooking methods. It only takes about an hour in the oven, but can provide a real depth of flavor that you just can’t get from other methods. The nice thing about this cooking technique is that it really works with such a wide variety of culinary styles.
Traditionally, I tend to use classic flavors like garlic, wine, mustard, etc. While this is great, it can sometimes feel uninteresting. For this recipe, I set out to make something a bit unique. I really wanted a light combination of flavors that felt bright and good for the warm weather. The answer was a few of my favorite flavors plus a beer choice that doesn’t commonly turn up in cooking.
Normally, when cooking with beer you see either wheat beers or a stout/porter style beer. These tend to be sweeter/maltier in flavor which works well more often than not. The downside, especially with stout or porter, is the flavors can get heavy. I went with an IPA for this recipe. I really wanted some of that citrus note of the hops to shine. Make sure to select the IPA carefully though, avoid the big West Coast Double IPAs as these are just hoppy, bitter bombs. Look for the growing trend of New England-style hazy IPAs or something with a Citra hop.
For the rest of the flavor, I went with orange and tarragon. These compliment the beer really well and keep the whole dish light. Tarragon and orange just make a natural combination that feels spring or summery.
Beer Braised Chicken
- 1 lb. Chicken Thighs and legs
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 onion diced
- 2 Garlic cloves minced
- 1 Orange zested and juiced
- 1 12 oz beer I used a Kindred Spirit IPA
- 1/2 cup Chicken Stock
- 1 tbsp Tarragon chopped
- 4 rainbow carrots cut into 2 in pieces
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until very hot but not smoking. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook until skin is crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter.
- Reduce the heat to medium, Add the onion and sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds
- Add the beer, chicken stock, orange juice, orange zest, tarragon and carrots to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Return the chicken thighs to the pot, submerging them in the liquid, and bring to a simmer.
- Cover, transfer to the preheated oven and cook for 50 minutes.