Beer-Braised Chicken Thighs with Kale and Polenta
Comfort Food Gets a Little Tipsy with Local Brew
If you’re craving an easy chicken dish that incorporates the same warm, comfort-food feel of homemade chicken soup, this dish is for you. The aroma is enticing, thanks in no small part to the local beer used for cooking. With such a wide variety of great local beers available, any one of them will render these chicken thighs tender and delicious.
Among the many ways to switch up this dish:
• Instead of lager, try a saison-style beer, like Foolproof ‘s Le Ferme Urbaine, brewed in Pawtucket. Add freshly grated orange zest to the pan when you add the beer and squeeze a little fresh orange juice over the chicken before serving.
• Or try Whaler’s Brewing Company’s Rise American Pale Ale, brewed in Wakefield, and add sliced lemon to the pan before bringing the beer to a simmer.
• If hard cider is your thing, try High Limb Hard Cider from Attleboro or Rhody Coyote from Newport. If nonalcoholic cider fits the bill, try some from your local orchards instead.
• If kale isn’t your favorite vegetable, go into full-on chicken soup mode and add sliced carrots, celery and onions at the start of the cooking time. Or try cubed butternut squash and sliced mushrooms, or cubed Macomber turnip and mushrooms.
• This dish can also be made in the oven, though for best results the kale should be sautéed separately. Preheat the oven to 425°. Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish with butter, place the chicken in the pan, skin side up, lightly coat the skin with olive oil, then add the shallot, beer and thyme, season with salt and pepper and bake until the skin is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.