Red Ale-Braised Chicken with Pumpkin
Serves 8-10 people
What are Red Ales? According to The Original Craft Beer Club, “Red Ales, unlike American Amber Ales, use specialty roasted malts that create a unique complexity within the finished beer, give it a sweeter, butterscotch or caramelized flavor, and allow it to achieve the reddish color”. These Red Ales don’t get enough attention – compared to other notable styles. We thought that needed to change. Thanks to the roasted barley in the brewing process, which gives the beer its red color, it pairs beautifully with the roasted winter vegetables. It’s a delicious meal for autumn and another beautiful example of “Beer meets pumpkin,” but this time, instead of pumpkin in the brew, it’s in the braise.
1 whole, hormone free chicken – 3 to 4 lbs
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs parsley
1 pint red ale, such as St. James’ Irish Red Ale
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 whole winter squash of your choice, Kabocha or Sugar Pumpkin are great choices
1 large yellow onion
4 ribs of celery
4 cloves of garlic
2 small dried chilies like Pepperoncini
- Cut up the chicken in 10 pieces – two drumsticks, two thighs, four from the breasts and the two wings and pat them dry with a paper towel. Season them all over with salt, black pepper, and paprika.
- Prep your vegetables: The onion should be in a large dice and the celery should be chopped in large chunks as should the pumpkin. The garlic should be peeled and smashed with the heel of your palm or with the help of a large spoon – just to bruise it a bit and release the juices inside.
- Sear the chicken pieces on all sides in a cast iron pan with olive oil. The heat should be kept at medium-high. Don’t worry about cooking the chicken through, we’ll braise it the rest of the way. Move the chicken pieces to an oven safe casserole.
- Leave the rendered chicken fat and olive oil in the pan. Swirl the smashed garlic, the chilies and the hard herbs (rosemary and thyme) through the fat. No need to pick the herbs – the whole branches can get put in the braise and the stem can be pulled out later.
- Swirl the vegetables through the fat next (keeping the heat medium high), in batches, no reason to cook them through, just to pick up a little of the caramelization from the chicken. Season the vegetables with salt and add them to the casserole. Add extra olive oil as needed during this step.
- Add the sautéed vegetables to the casserole along with any remaining pan drippings (probably most of them will have absorbed into the vegetables). Add the pint of beer to the pan and braise until the chicken is done (165 degrees F) – about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, chopped or simply picked and serve warm. Enjoy!