La Fin du Poulet – Chicken with Shallots and La Fin du Monde Beer

While perusing The New York Times this week, like the sophisticated person I am, I stumbled upon a simple chicken recipe that sounded amazing.  The dish consists of braised chicken thighs, shallots, white wine, dijon mustard, and tarragon.  That’s it.  You can find the original recipe here, but because this is The BEER Spy, I made one little substitution.  Instead of adding 2 cups of wine to the dish, I decided to use Unibrou’s La Fin du Monde.  The light, crisp, spiced characteristics of this Belgian Tripel is the closest beer substitute for White Wine.  Belgian Tripels are golden and blonde in color, and tend to have spice flavors of coriander, clove, citrus peel, and pepper thanks to the yeast esters.  They’re also clean and crisp, with a little malt sweetness and low bitterness.  Essentially, Tripels are the perfect beer substitute for White Wine!

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I started this dish in a skillet, but it quickly became overcrowded. I eventually switched to my larger pot.

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The beer swap worked perfectly, and this has easily become the best dish I’ve ever made at home.  Hell, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. Period.  And as I sopped up the delicious chicken juices with a crusty piece of bread I realized, “This tastes a lot like the infamous chicken dish we had in Rochefort!”  Stay tuned for future posts as I try to morph this simple recipe into the best meal we had in Belgium.

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And here’s our recipe, very slightly adapted from NYTimes.com

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 to 15 whole medium shallots, peeled
  • 2 cups beer (Belgian Tripel or Belgian Golden Strong Ale)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 sprigs tarragon
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half.
1. Sprinkle chicken thighs with flour, salt and pepper.
2.  Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or skillet set over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, cook the chicken, in batches if necessary, until well browned and crisp on all sides. Set aside.
3.  Add the whole shallots to the pot and sauté them in the butter and chicken fat until they begin to soften and caramelize, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Add beer to deglaze the pot, stir with a large spoon, then add the mustard and tarragon, then the chicken thighs. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
4.  Remove the lid, and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken, 15 to 20 minutes.
5.  Add the cherry tomatoes to the pot, stir lightly to combine and serve immediately.
YIELD
4 to 6 servings.
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