beer- and onion-braised chicken

4 to 6    |   
Prep Time:
20 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
40 minutes

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chicken beer onions

One thing I pride myself on is the originality of my dinner parties. I rarely serve the same thing twice. But lately, I’ve been making this dish over and over for guests. It could be the economy — chicken thighs are a bargain. It could be the ease factor — Friday I didn’t get home until 5:30 and this was ready by 6:30. It could be that I get such raves every time I serve it that I’m addicted to the acclaim. But the recipe’s not even mine; I cribbed it from Bon Appetit (kudos to the test kitchen geniuses who thought of it). When you serve it with favorite side dishes (see below), you have a healthy, balanced meal that can idle in the oven while you relax with your friends. Now that’s the perfect dinner party.


8 large chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on (see note)
salt and ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 small bay leaves
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 bottle (12 ounces) dark beer


Preheat oven to 375°F. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and allspice. In the bottom of a 5- to 7-quart Dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add half the chicken thighs, skin sides down, and cook until the skin is browned and the thighs release easily from the pot when turned with tongs, about 4 minutes. Brown the meat on other side. Transfer to a plate and continue with remaining thighs, adjusting heat under pot as needed. Remove thighs and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil.

Add the onions to pot and stir until they soften a little, about 2 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover pot; cook until golden brown, lifting lid and stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in bay leaves, mustard, and beer and bring to a boil. Arrange chicken thighs in pot in one layer; pour in any accumulated juices from plate. Transfer pot to oven, but do not cover; cook until chicken is almost falling from bone and sauce is slightly reduced, about 40 minutes.

to make this a complete meal: serve with roasted kale and roasted tomatoes. Cook up some regular or Israeli couscous, then serve the chicken over that in shallow pasta bowls. Surround with the kale and tomatoes.

note: depending on the size of the thighs, you might serve one or two per person and it’s always good to have a spare or two for second helpings. That’s why I say 8 thighs serves 4 to 6 people.