Slow-Cooker Stout and Chicken Stew

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Another St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone in the United States, and again, I have a huge stash of Guinness beer in the fridge that I normally don’t drink. These were leftovers from my Guinness cupcake recipe and you all know how I don’t like to waste. I wanted a new application for the beer, so why not whip it up into a stew? Perfect, since it was cold and I wanted to try a slow cooker that found a new home in my kitchen.

I found a recipe online for ingredients that I had lying around. Doesn’t match exactly, but you know, you can always do a substitution based on what you have.

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
2 pieces of chicken thigh/leg, deboned and skinned.
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 strips of bacon, chopped
1 2/3 cups Guinness beer
1 pound whole baby carrots
1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms, halved
2 cups chopped white onion (usually 1 onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups frozen vegetables

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Here are most of the ingredients in one shot. You’ll see that I have the chicken quarter intact. It’s usually cheaper to buy them this way and then remove the skin and bone yourself. I think it’s worth 1 or 2 minutes of your time to save a couple of dollars per pound.

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First remove the bone and skin off the chicken. Put 6 tables of flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and stir together. Dip the chicken into the flour mixture until well coated.

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In a frying pan, heat up your olive oil on medium-high heat. On my electric stove, that setting is “8” and fry each side until it’s brown, just like in the picture.

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After frying, arrange the chicken on the bottom layer in the slow cooker pot like so.

 

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After you are done with the chicken, do you not reduce the heat nor clean the pan, just render the chopped bacon in it. Stir frequently careful not to burn.

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When the bacon fat has rendered out, slowly sprinkle the ½ cup of flour into the bacon while stirring. We are creating what is called a roux. It is a thickener.

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Keep stirring until the flour turns a medium brown. You will smell a nutty smell.

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Pour the beer over the roux while you stir and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. This process is called deglazing.

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The bits you are scraping up is called fond, and that’s where all the flavor is! That’s why it’s important not to clean the pan after frying the chicken. The chicken and bacon flavor are in these bits! Continue scraping and mix the roux into the beer.

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Pour the mixture on top of the chicken in the pot.

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Add the carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic, and thyme.

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Finally add the chicken broth.

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Set it and forget it! 4 hours on high for me, because I want to eat it that night! Otherwise you can do 8 hours on low. The chicken will fall apart which is what we want.

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After the set time, the vegetables should look something like this.

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Stir in the frozen vegetables and cook for 10 minutes more.

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Add salt and pepper to taste and ta-da! Your got your chicken beer stew!

Applications: I’m sure you can substitute beef (or other meats) for chicken. You can put any vegetables and/or add potatoes, but the garlic and onions are the mainstay. You can probably use any dark beer. Light beers doesn’t have any deep flavors that can withstand the slow cooking process.

Good luck!

– Max

Original recipe for this at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-13/features/sns-201302131930–tms–foodstylts–v-d20130213-20130213_1_slow-cooker-chicken-thighs-chicken-stew

 

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