Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Beer braised chicken and onions with tomato, greens, and gruyere panade

Man, I love reorganizing stuff, whether it be in person or on my computer. Like now, I literally just spent an hour re-organizing my pins on Pinterest. And I just feel like a weight has lifted off my shoulders. Why? Well, my original boards of "Dessert" and "Food to Make" were starting to get a little unwieldy for my taste, and I felt like I was loosing interesting pins in the madness. So I divided each into sub-categories, like "Desserts: tarts and pies" and "Food: soups". Feel free to check them out (and/or follow me) if you're interested.

While you're there, you might want to check out the original links to the 2 recipes I'm sharing with you today.

Beer braised chicken with caramelized onions (L) and a vegetable panade (R)

"Food: main dish" has a link to this beer braised chicken, which is just the most perfect winter dish. It's caramelized onions and chicken, slowly cooked in a beer/chicken broth concoction until tender and bursting with deep flavor. It's comfort food to the max, especially if you pair it with a creamy mashed potatoes or a thick egg noodle.

"Food: pasta, bread, grains" has a link to this tomato, swiss chard, and gruyere panade- which is somewhat like a savory bread pudding. Sauteed veggies and cheese get layered on top of thick cut bread (the semi-stale kind works well), which is partly submerged in broth and cooked until soft and tender. The panade can be served on its own or function as a side dish.

In this case, I figured the panade would be a slightly unique, but complementary accompaniment to the chicken and its saucy goodness. And it was!

Yours in organizing her digital life and slowly getting caught up on blog posts- one click at a time,

Beer braised chicken and caramelized onions, adapted from Simply Recipes

Note: I don't know much about beers, but the recipe calls for dark, full bodied beers that are malty and sweet. What beer you use matters. As she states: "for this recipe we've used Moylan's Kilt Lifter, a Scottish ale, and also Ommegang Abbey Ale. A soft Belgian beer like Flanders Red or one of the Chimay beers would also be ideal." Avoid IPAs and hoppy beers, and the bitterness will be too much for the dish. 

If you don't want to serve this dish with panade, try mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or rice.

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 chicken thighs, about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds
3 pounds yellow onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick, root to stem, about 6-8 cups sliced
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 Tbsp smooth Dijon mustard (I recommend adding 1 TBSP first, then adding more if you like the flavor, as different Dijons have varying levels of intensity)
1 1/2 cups dark beer
1 cup chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot with a lid, such as a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and set them skin side down in the butter. Salt the meat side lightly. Brown the chicken on both sides well. Remove the browned thighs from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
  2. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan, taking care to not discard any of the tasty browned bits. (Note, do not discard the fat down the drain, you may clog your plumbing. Pour off into a jar.) Lower the heat to medium and add the sliced onions to the pan. Cook the onions slowly, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 15 to 25 minutes.
  3. Add the bay leaves, thyme, mustard, 2 teaspoons of salt, and beer to the onions. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken thighs and the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
  4. Cook covered for 45 minutes, then uncover the pot and simmer well until the liquid is greatly reduced and the meat wants to fall off the bone, between 45 minutes and 1 hour. If you are using unsalted or low sodium stock, you will likely need to add more salt. Add freshly ground black pepper and more salt to taste.

Don't worry if the onions look like they're too much at first at first. They're not.
Eventually the onions will cook down... and turn into sweet deliciousness in the process.
Tomato, greens and Gruyère panade, adapted from Seven Spoons

Note: It's been a while since I cooked this, but I remember the portions being a bit off (eg, too much bread.) Therefore I've given a general amount of bread for this recipe- but it doesn't have to be perfect. Add whatever fits in your baking dish, and adjust the filling to taste if you want it more or less veggie-licious. 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for the pan
5 pounds mixed sturdy greens, such as chards and kales, stemmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 to 3/4 of a 1-pound, day-old peasant loaf, sliced 1/2-inch thick
3 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, sliced 1/2-inch thick, see note
8 to 16 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated, plus extra for garnish (I always add more cheese than most recipes call for; the original stated 8 oz of cheese and I probably doubled that when cooking. Feel free to use as much/little as you like.)

  1. Butter a 10x15-inch baking dish and set aside. Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C), with a rack in the upper third. In a large, wide pot of boiling water, cook the greens for 2 minutes, then drain into a colander and run under cold water. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water. Chop coarsely and set aside. 
  2. In the same pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter with the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened, around 12 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Raise the head to medium-high and pour in the wine; simmer until the wine has reduced to 1/4 cup, around 5 minutes. Stir in the greens and season with salt and pepper. 
  3. In a small saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with 1/2 of the bread slices, overlapping and trimming the bread to fit. Layer half the tomatoes on top, and season with salt and pepper. Spread half the greens mixture on next, then half of the cheese. Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients, gently pressing down as you build, ending with the cheese. (Note: the original recipe called for 3 layers of bread, but I could only fit 2. Feel free to add a 3rd layer of bread on the cheese if you'd like a "breadier" panade).
  4. Carefully pour the stock over the casserole and press down again, this time using a spatula. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and brush over all. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until the top is browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow the casserole to rest for 10 minutes before serving. At the table, sprinkle some reserved cheese on top, if desired.


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