Porter-Braised Chicken Thighs with Root Vegetables
Slightly bitter and with a deep coffee-like flavor, porter, a very dark ale, makes this braise rustic and hearty. Porter’s toastiness plus the sweetness of root vegetables and the spiciness of Dijon mustard creates a stew full of contrasting, but harmonious, flavors.
- 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, about 3 1/2 lb. (1.75 kg) total
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tbs. canola oil
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus 5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g) at room temperature
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
- 2 red potatoes, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
- 1 celery root, about 14 oz. (440 g), peeled, trimmed, halved and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
- 2 bottles (12 fl. oz./375 ml each) porter
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) chicken broth
- 2 Tbs. light brown sugar
- 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) all-purpose flour
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Working in batches, sear the chicken thighs, turning once or twice, until lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Pour off the fat in the pot.
Reduce the heat to medium and melt the 2 Tbs. butter. Add the onion and sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes and celery root, and stir in the porter, broth, sugar, mustard, tomato paste and thyme.
Return the chicken thighs to the pot, submerging them in the liquid, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes
In a heatproof bowl, mash together the 5 Tbs. butter and the flour to form a thick paste. Gradually whisk about 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) of the hot cooking liquid into the flour-butter mixture, and then stir this mixture into the pot. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012)