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18-10-2011, 10:22
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http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/021.jpg?w=225&h=300 (http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/021.jpg)The idea for this recipe occurred simply because I couldn’t make what I originally wanted. Last weekend, I got a fierce craving for Stifado; that wonderful Greek stew of slow cooked Beef or Lamb (although Rabbit is good, too) in a rich, red wine-heavy sauce, sweetened with Silverskin Onions or Shallots. I simply didn’t have time to make it – Stifado is not a dish to be rushed. Four hours in the oven, minimum. Slooooow cooking.
What I did have, however, was Chicken and *- more importantly – a bulb of Smoked Garlic. The sheer oak-smoked scent of it in the kitchen was seriously making me hungry, and I made up my mind; Chicken Stifado. But – obviously – with beer. Brown Ale, to be precise. A quick trip to Beerritz, a chat with Ghostie, and an Achel Bruin appeared in my kitchen. Onwards and upwards.
So, you’ll need a whole chicken, quartered – if you’re doing it yourself, leave the wing in the breasts but cut the breast away from the bone, leaving the skin on. In a large stockpot, peel and half (leave them chunky) about 10 decent-sized shallots – more if smaller.*Saute them in Olive Oil and don’t be afraid to let them catch and caramelise a little. When softened, add your chicken and brown the skin. You just want to put colour on the chicken, as it’s got a long cook ahead of it.
http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/004.jpg?w=135&h=180 (http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/004.jpg)Smoke 'em if you got 'em

When browned, remove the chicken and pour 3/4 of the beer into the shallots; stir and season with Black Pepper and a tablespoon of dark or brown sugar. Drink the rest of the beer as you go – cook’s bonus. Simmer on a low heat for 3-5 minutes then add one tin of chopped tomatoes and 4 chopped fresh tomatoes. This might sound strange, but add a splash of Malt Vinegar,too – it’s gives it a nice tang and is crucial in Stifado – so why not here? Stir, and then add the whole clove of smoked garlic. Yep – all of it, chopped fine or minced. Stir and add the chicken. Coat the chicken in the sauce and simmer on a medium to low heat for about 90 minutes. If it’s too thin; add a little cornflour mixed with cold water. You want sauce, but it does need to be reduced thickly.
http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/016.jpg?w=300&h=225 (http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/016.jpg)

When you’re ready, serve with crusty bread for mopping up. The boozy sweetness of the Brown Ale really compliments the smoky/sweet tomato sauce, and you’ll find that Chicken actually gets really moist cooked like this and just falls away from the bone. If you can’t find smoked garlic then just use normal; but really do make the effort – it gives a fantastic flavour. You could – and I’m just riffing here – try using normal garlic alongside Schlenkerla Rauch to get the required smokiness. Give it a try. This recipe will serve three, or two hungry beer-cooks. Eat with more Achel, if you have it; Westmalle, Petrus Oud Bruin or Corsendonk would also be a good substitutes if not.

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