Thursday, October 29, 2009


Belgian Chicken Braised in Beer with Belgian Endive and Pommes Frites

I made this dish on Thursday, October 29 for my older sister Betsey, Andy and myself. I had made the chicken dish before, during my first go at this project. Of all of the dishes I made that time through, this was the most memorable. Although it is not the national dish, I just had to make it again because it was so delicious. The original recipe can be found here. One of the national dishes of Belgium is pommes frites. Apparently french fries were invented in Belgium! Who knew? I had never made homemade pommes frites before, so I decided to give them a whirl. Click here to read the original recipe.

As predicted, the chicken dish was quite tasty. The braising makes the chicken incredibly tender: fall off the bone tender. The beer and brown sugar make a sweet, savory sauce, which is the perfect complement to the tartness of the endive. All three of us enjoyed this dish very much. I was more than happy to devour the leftovers.

Pommes frites are rather time consuming, but good. They taste, well, like french fries, because they are. Not much to report here...

I also bought a sampler pack of Belgian beer to braise the chicken in and to enjoy with dinner. Belgium makes good beer.

Without further ado:

Pommes Frites

Ingredients:-3-4 c. vegetable oil
- 2 lbs. Idaho, russet or Yukon potatoes, peeled, rinsed and dried
- salt

1) Pour enough oil into a pan to reach halfway up. Heat to 325 degrees.
2) Cut potatoes 1/2" wide and 2 1/2"-3" long. Dry on a clean dish towel. Divide into 1 c. batches.
3) Fry 4-5 minutes per batch, until potatoes are lightly colored, but not brown. Potatoes should then sit at room temperature until right before you wish to serve them.

4) When almost ready to serve, heat oil to 375 degress. Fry in 1 c. batches, 1-2 minutes, until nicely browned. Drain on paper towels. Do not cover, or they will get soggy.
5) Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Chicken Braised in Beer with Belgian Endives

Ingredients:- 4 large Belgian endives, bottoms trimmed
- 2 T. lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 c. vegetable oil
- 4 lb. chicken, skinned and quartered
- 1/3 c. flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 2 T. butter
- 4 tsp. brown sugar
-1/4 c. minced onion
- 1/4 c. water
- 1/2 c. Belgian dark ale or beer

1) Split the endives down the middle, lengthwise. Carefully cut out the hard white core in the center without cutting through the bottom of the endives.
2) Toss endives with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Marinate while completing other steps.
3) In heavy 4-5 qt. casserold or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat.
4) Meanwhile, dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
5) Add dark leg parts to oil and saute, turning on occasion for 5-7 minutes until golden. Remove, then add breast parts and cook the same way. Remove all chicken pieces from pot.
6) Discard the oil, but keep the drippings. Add butter and melt over medium heat. When butter is golden brown, add endives and sprinkle with brown sigar. Saute over medium high heat, turning on occasion for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and glistening. Add any remaining lemon juice, along with onions, and saute, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until softened.
7) Set chicken leg parts over endives, including any juices, and add water and beer. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook over very low heat for 20 minutes, turning the legs once. Add the breast parts, pressing the chicken into the endives as much as possible. Cover and simmer gently for another 35-40 minutes.
8) Remove chicken and endives from the pot. Place on a serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
9) Boil the liquid down until about 1 c. remains. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
10) To serve, pour sauce over chicken and endives.

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