Paul Kahan is a big fan of chicken thighs because they have so much flavor and are so inexpensive—the best of both worlds. He braises the thighs in beer to make an excellent spring stew that he (naturally) pairs with more beer, such as Pere Jacques from Chicago's Goose Island Beer Company, a Belgian-style ale full of caramelized malt flavors.
More Hearty Stews
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
8 skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons anise seeds
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 cup shelled fava beans
1/2 cup fresh peas, preferably English peas
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound button mushrooms, halved
8 scallions, thinly sliced
2 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
One 12-ounce bottle Belgian beer
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
How to Make It
In a small skillet, toast the anise seeds over moderate heat, shaking the skillet, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let the anise seeds cool slightly, then crush with the side of a knife.
In a mini food processor, combine the toasted anise seeds with the chopped garlic, saffron, paprika and cayenne. Add the lemon juice and puree. Transfer the mixture to a large, shallow bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add salt and the fava beans and cook for 1 minute; using a slotted spoon, transfer the fava beans to a small bowl and let cool slightly. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes; drain. Peel the fava beans and add to the peas.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, scraping off the excess. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken thighs to a platter.
Wipe out the casserole, add the butter and heat until melted. Add the halved mushrooms, sliced scallions and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until any liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the beer and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the casserole.
Return the chicken thighs to the casserole and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Add the cream, fava beans and peas, increase the heat to moderate and cook uncovered until the sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs. Serve the chicken stew in shallow soup bowls, sprinkled with the parsley.
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