On a short stint in Berlin, Kara caught a glimpse of the traditional, hearty German cuisine. Every corner offered some kind of take-out currywurst, thick-cut fries, sauerkraut and of course an abundance of craft beers. The assortment and magnitude of beers was both overwhelming and awe-inspiring.
Come October in Germany (and basically all over the world nowadays), crowds celebrate their inner Bavarian spirit and love of all brewed beverages during the 16-day Oktoberfest beer festival. While we have never experienced Oktoberfest in its country of origin, we can only imagine how fun it would be to gather around long tables in rustic beer gardens, chow down on bratwurst and pretzels, and sing and dance along to live oompah music. We think a more realistic approach to celebrate the German festival is to put our own Boston twist on a dish braised in Sam Adams Octoberfest beer. The brew’s robust, caramel flavor adds a complexity when simmered slowly with chicken, thyme and root vegetables.
Oktoberfest Beer Braised Chicken
8 chicken drumsticks (or thighs)
flour for dredging
2 T butter
3 T EVOO
2 yellow onions, sliced
4 carrots, diced
1 T granulated sugar
2 c button mushrooms, sliced
1 clove minced garlic
1 12 oz bottle dark beer (we used Sam Adams Octoberfest)
1 c chicken broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
generous salt and pepper throughout
Heat EVOO in a Le Creuset or any large braising pan on medium-high heat. Dredge the chicken drumsticks with flour and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and sear, about 5 minutes on all sides. Remove the chicken and set aside. Add the butter, then onions, carrots, sugar, salt and pepper, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in the beer and let reduce for a few minutes. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf and thyme, and reduce heat to medium-low. Nestle the chicken into the sauce, cover and cook down, at least 45 minutes.
Before serving, remove the chicken. To thicken the sauce, add 2 T of flour to a coffee mug. Next, add 1/4 cup of the braising liquid to the mug and whisk until there are no lumps. Add this slurry mixture back into the hot stew and stir rapidly. Cook for a few more minutes to let thicken, and add another T butter. To serve, plate the chicken pieces and top with the sauce.
Fill your beer stein, dress up in lederhosen, and celebrate the final days of Oktoberfest!