30 January, 2010

Chicken Braised in Beer

"Poulet a la biere" - Recipe #3 of 91
from Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook
by Ruth Van Waerebeek

There's a whole lotta "yum" in this dish. A chicken is fried up good with onions, garlic, carrots and mushrooms, and then braised in Belgian beer and beef broth, and then topped off with cream, parsley, and freshly grated nutmeg (the mystery ingredient). I served the chicken with rosemary fried potatoes. In Belgium, it might also be served with boiled potatoes or braised endives.

I received one of best compliments of all time from my partner, Rick. While he was eating his dinner, he said "Ya know, I actually feel sorry for other people right now. They aren't here to experience this amazing food." It was one of those meals where we felt buzzed afterward. Can a beer sauce do that to you?! In any case, it was fantastic. Highly recommend this dish. It is also one of my favorite, and most used, cookbooks.

We rated this one a 10 out of 10.

I couldn't find Rodenbach (the recommended beer
for this dish) so I picked up a Belgian farmhouse ale.

  • 1 fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces and skinned (I admit to only using chicken thighs this time because that's what we had)
  • 1 bottle (12 oz.) of Belgian beer, preferably Rodenbach
  • 15 pearl onions (whole), or 7 shallots (I used shallots and cut them in large chunks)
  • 12 large white mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and quartered
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into carrot pennies
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (preferably homemade)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 TB flour
  • 1 TB vegetable oil
  • 2 TB butter (preferably unsalted)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 TB finely minced fresh parsley
  • a hearty pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil and half of the butter over medium heat in a large, deep pan (ideally, an enameled dutch oven). Add the chicken pieces and saute until brown on both sides (about 10 minutes). Remove the chicken pieces and set aside.

Add the remaining butter to the pan, and then add the onions, carrots, and mushrooms, stirring frequently until they brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sprinkle with sugar, and cook for 1 - 2 more minutes.

Sprinkle the vegetables with flour and stir well to make sure the flour blends well with the butter and coats the vegetables.

Deglaze the pan by adding the beer and broth and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom. Add the chicken pieces, thyme, bay leaf, and half of the parsley. Cover the pan and simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf, and remove the chicken and set aside. Add cream and nutmeg to the sauce and cook for 2 - 3 minutes until nicely thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed. Return the chicken to the pan and coat with the sauce, sprinkle with remaining parsley, and serve.

(Serves 4.)


Serve with beer and rosemary fried potatoes.

A definite keeper -- a delicious winter meal!


  1. they should make it once again (the book) with your pictures....

  2. I just made this for Adam and I, and while I didn't get quite the memorable quote that Rick gave, I got a big Yum!. This dish reminds me of another one I make called Champagne Chicken. Same idea, this one is just more "wintery." I really like the ale flavor, and I used the same beer as you - I couldn't find the beer it called for either.

    SO GOOD Jackie, thanks for sharing! And I do think you need to do a cookbook with your recipes and gorgeous photos. I reserve my copy NOW!

  3. Yay! I'm so glad the recipe worked for you! My cousin in California also made it tonight and it was a hit there, as well. It's really a nice recipe. Definitely NOT low in calories, though! Whew! ;-)

    Would love to have a recipe for Champagne Chicken if you feel like sharing and ever get a chance to type it up. (No hurry!) Sounds delightful!

    I love sharing recipes. Glad this one worked well for you two!


  4. I'm definitely going to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing. --Anne

  5. Rodenbach is a dark, sour ale. I think that by using the lighter saison/farmhouse ale, you might be missing out on a lot. The acids in rodenbach would play a major role in the flavor profile of this dish. Although with the cream and seasoning, you could probably use budweiser and it would still be amazing.

  6. Thank you for this sharing of this wonderful dish.I wish to eat this dish,looking fantastic!!It is very easy dish.visit here for my recipes.