Chicken in Beer/Frango com Cerveja
This is a common domestic recipe which produces a tasty and hearty chicken stew often served with boiled white rice or potato purée. Using jointed chicken with pieces on the bone adds to the taste but you can use breast pieces though only cook them for 15 minutes in the sauce after browned. Needless to say that you should use the best chicken you can afford for best results. A potato and celeriac purée complements the sweetness of this dish perfectly. Almost as good as the dish itself are the leftovers of boned chicken pieces which can be used to make excellent chicken pies (empadas de frango)!
1 small chicken or a combination of chicken thighs, drumsticks and wings
1 25cl bottle of beer (normally lager, Super Bock if you must, though a light ale works well too)
1 finely chopped onion
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp of rapeseed oil or vegetable oil
2 bay leaves 1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp of fresh thyme or 1 tsp of dried thyme
White pepper and salt
Flour for dusting
1. Joint the chicken if using a whole one. Lightly salt each piece with seas salt and coat in seasoned flour (plain flour, white pepper and a little table salt). The most efficient, clean and elegant way of doing this is by putting the seasoned flour in a plastic bag (e.g. Freezer bag) and then putting the pieces of chicken (4 or 5 at a time) in the bag and shaking it (holding it closed…). Remove each piece and tap against your hand inside the bag to remove excess flour. You should get all the chicken pieces just lightly coated with the flour and place them on a clean board.
2. Heat a casserole dish which can accommodate all the chicken and add a tablespoon of rapeseed or vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, brown all the pieces of chicken in batches making sure the pieces with skin get a nice colour. Keep on a warm plate.
3. Remove any excess fat from the casserole (but keep all the bits stuck to the bottom) and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Gently fry the onion with the bay leaves, then add the garlic and finally the paprika and the thyme
4. Return the chicken pieces on the bone to the casserole and add the beer (if using pieces of breast add them 15 minutes later). Bring to boil and the reduce the heat to a simmering temperature. Cook for 30 minutes or until cooked (meat should fall off the bone) taste, check seasoning and serve.
5. Serve with a simple white rice or a potato and celeriac purée with steamed greens tossed in garlic and butter.