A variation of the classic coq au vin from Julia Childs Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but instead of wine, dark beer is used. The chicken is braised in beer, creating a rich complex flavor that is best to be eaten by a fireside on a cold winter night. The dish goes well with a side of potatoes, mini Brussels sprouts, and a light hoppy beer.
For braising I used:
1 can of Moo Thunder, farmhouse ale stout, produced by Butternuts Beer and Ale, from Garrettsville, NY.
1 cup Steel Rail, extra pail ale, produced by Berkshire Brewing Co, from Berkshires, MA.
1 cup Jack D’OR, Saison Americaine, produced by Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, from Westport, Ma.
Dice the bacon into bite sized pieces and blanch in boiling water for 5 minutes. Blanching the bacon gets rid of the salty and smoky flavors, leaving more subtle flavors.
While the bacon is blanching turn two stove tops on to medium heat. Place a medium pan on one stove and a big cast iron or stainless steel pan that is big enough to fit the chicken on the other stove.
When the bacon is done blanching remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to the big frying pan. Let sit until cooked, but not too crispy. When done remove to a plate.
At the same time put 1.5 Tbs of butter in the medium frying pan. When the butter has melted add the sliced mushrooms. Let cook for 5-8 minutes. When done remove the mushrooms onto a plate and clean off any excess juices from the pan.
When the mushrooms are done, add 1 Tbs butter, 1 Tbs oil, and the pearl onions to the medium pan. Let cook for 8 minutes, until beginning to crisp. Then turn the heat down to low and add 1 cup of chicken stock. Let braise until the liquid has thickened.
When the bacon is done, Salt and pepper the chicken, turn the stove top up to medium high heat, add 2 Tbs oil, and fry the pieces of chicken for 5 minutes each side, so both sides are crisped.
Add the garlic to the bottom under the chicken and let fry for 3 minutes. Then pour all of the beer, 1 cup of chicken stock, the cooked bacon, and the rest of the seasoning into the big pan. Let the chicken braise at medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes. The chicken is done when it is firm to the touch. Remove chicken to a side dish; keep warm by placing a piece of tin foil with a hole on top to let the steam out.
Turn the heat to high and reduce the braising liquid until thickened, so only ¼ inch is left. Should take 20 minutes.
Make a beurre manie by mixing together 1.5 Tbs of butter and 1.5 Tbs of flour. This is used to thicken the sauce. Fold it in to the reduced liquid to make the final sauce.
Add the chicken, mushrooms, and pearl onions into the large frying pan, and coat everything with the sauce.