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Chicken with Ale and Juniper Berries

The complex flavors of abbey and abbey-style ales, such as the Maredsous dark abbey ale, enhance sauces and stews when used as an ingredient or poured alongside. In Belgium these ales are often referred to as "the Burgundies of the North" and treated with the utmost respect.

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  • Servings: 6 very small servings

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  • One 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons cut into small dice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark ale, such as Maredsous Abbey Ale
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons juniper berries, coarsely crushed
  • 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt the 1 tablespoon of uncut butter in the oil. Add the chicken in batches and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 5 minutes per side; remove to a plate. Reduce the heat to moderate, add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of the ale and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Return the chicken to the skillet, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn and baste the chicken with the pan juices, then cover and simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes longer.
  2. Remove the chicken from the skillet and keep warm. Boil the pan juices over high heat until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the juniper berries, pink peppercorns and the remaining 2 tablespoons of ale, then whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons of cold butter, a few pieces at a time. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Return the chicken to the skillet and spoon the sauce over it to coat. Serve the chicken on a platter or dinner plates, sprinkled with the parsley.
Contributed By Photo © Mirjam Bleeker Published April 2001

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