Coffee proposed an intriguing challenge. Having had coffee rubbed meats in restaurants, I was excited to have my own hand at a coffee creation. After doing my own recipe research, I intended to make a dish with lamb. However, the prices at the market deterred me from using the $35 dollar leg o'lamb, and so I settled on bone-in split chicken breasts. . Not only is chicken more affordable and accessible, but I felt that it would allow for the coffee to shine and not be masked by the sometimes gamey lamb flavors.
The cherry and fennel in my recipe added a nice contrast to the bitter coffee, and the acid of the balsamic vinegar took the bite out of the brew.
While admittedly weary when diving into coffee challenge, I was very excited when my Brewed and Braised Cherry Chicken was devoured by myself and my friends. —meetsaucygirl
Rub the chicken pieces with the ground coffee. Allow to "marinate" for 2-3 hrs in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put the lid of heavy, oven proof braising pot in the oven to heat (I love my enamel covered La Creuset!)
Remove chicken from the refrigerator and brush off the coffee grounds. Coat the chicken in the flour. Heat oil in the heavy pan at medium-high heat. Get the oil glistening hot.
Sear the chicken on both sides to get a nice brown coating. About 2 minutes each side. Remove chicken and reduce heat to medium.
Add the garlic, fennel, and onion to the pan. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until the vegetables soften. About 5 minutes.
Add the dried cherries, broth, coffee, and balsamic vinegar. Stir in the cloves and scrape the fawn (tasty bits) on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken back to the pot and place the pieces meat side down into the ingredients.
Bring the liquids to a boil then cover with the lid that was heating in the oven. By preheating the lid, you will know you have an insulated "oven" to keep your dish hot from beginning to end.
Bake the dish in the oven for 2.5 hours. Remove the dish from the oven. Place the chicken pieces on a cutting board the remove the bones. Because it braised in the liquid, the meat will be falling off the bone. Add the meat back to the pot and toss the chicken in the deliciousness.
Serve the Brewed and Braised Cherry Chicken sprinkled with fennel leaves over rice, mashed potatoes, or with some crusty bread. It is divine!