Sunday, August 30, 2009

Belgian Chicken

Well yesterday evening I made Chicken Braised in Belgian Ale with Cabbage. I decided on this because it looked like a good comfort food and budget. So this cooking through cookbooks will most likely be a monthly deal. I will also change it from dinner to a lunch and have some one watch the little ones. They made it very difficult to cook the other night. Other than that (and the lack of juniper berries...expensive) everything turned out delicious.

It took me about 3 hours to do the cooking, mostly because of the kids. I also made homemade mashed potatoes with real butter and half & half to accompany the dish. The brew I used was a Leffe Blonde it was a nice fruity like ale went very well with the chicken. I was disappointed that I didn't get to use juniper berries in this dish. It called for 3 berries and it cost about $8.00 for 3 oz. of dried berries. So I went without I really don't plan to make a bunch of juniper berry dishes. Perhaps in the future when I make it again and have a little more money I'll spring for them.

I made the potatoes first with russets and set them aside. Then I went on with the chicken, and remembering from the Julie & Julia movie... Julia Child was right if you dry the meat it does brown better. I didn't have a dutch oven I used my gigantic chicken fryer pan instead it worked just fine. Although do want to eventually get a dutch oven. There are tons of kitchen cookware and gadgets I want. One thing at a time though.

Overall I was pleased with the out come. It was definitely a comfort food with the slow braised chicken, onions, and carrots in that lovely simmering ale sauce. Then I used some French artisan bread to soak up everything else. Bliss...

Here is the recipe I used from from The Best Of Cooking Pleasures from Cooking Club America:


1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 (4-6 lb.) chicken, cut up
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 (12 oz.) bottle Belgian Ale or other full-bodied beer
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 juniper berries, crushed and chopped
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf


1 (2 lb.) head green cabbage, quartered, cored and slice (1/2 inch)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1. Heat butter and vegetable oil in large non- reactive Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium high heat until butter is melted. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper. Add the chicken in batches to Dutch oven; cook 10 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken and pour out all but 1 Tbsp. of drippings from the Dutch oven.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, carrot, and garlic cook and stir 5 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle vegetables with flour; cook and stir an additional minute

3. Add beer and broth. Bring to a boil. Add juniper berries, thyme,and bay leaf; return chicken to pot. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 40 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink.

4. Meanwhile blanch cabbage in large pot of boiling salted water for about 3 1/2 minutes. Drain and cool under running water.

5. Place chicken on platter. Remove and discard thyme and bay leaf. Skim fat from liquid. Increase heat to med-high; boil 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Return chicken to pot and cook until hot.

6. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage salt and pepper cook 5 minutes. Spoon cabbage on plate and , top with chicken and sauce.

Serves 6

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