So, I did something dumb last month.  I teased y’all and said something about soup season.  Well… I got no soup recipe this month.  That’s because I made something in a fit of improvisation that knocked me off my feet a bit. I was genuinely shocked this turned out as good as it did.  Let’s make some delicious chicken, shall we?  Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 clearly genetically modified boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 can delicious beer
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 excessive bunch of herbs (Thyme, Sage, Oregano)
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 carrots, rough chopped
  • 1 onion, rough chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 – 1.5 Tbsp Canola oil
  • Salt and pepper 

I made this up on the fly. I had no plan for this chicken. What happened was that I won some delicious Hefeweizen at the trivia at Ragged Island Brewing Company in Portsmouth, but I don’t really drink at home.  So, I have this 4 pack of beer in my fridge and I needed to find a use for it.  I thought, let’s deconstruct the beer can chicken thing and make something delicious.  It’s best to use a light beer for this recipe, honestly.  The Hefeweizen was perfect in my opinion.  I could see this being perfect with the Old Boys Vienna Lager too.  Maybe also Donde Esta La Bibliothque.  All of which you can find at Ragged Island! 

The first step is just getting everything ready and prepped because the cooking steps come at you fast.  Chop your vegetables, smash your garlic, and tie those herbs together in a beautiful bouquet garnis. The herbs you use really don’t matter. Use whatever herbs you think would taste great.  I happened to have an ungodly amount of thyme, sage, and oregano in my herb garden, so that’s what I used.  If I had rosemary, I definitely would have used that as well because I think chicken and rosemary is a match made in heaven.  

Once you have your herbs and veggies all prepped, it’s time to season and sear the chicken.  Put a deep sauté pan (around 3 quarts) on medium high heat and add the canola oil.  Season the chicken aggressively with salt and pepper. You want it to look something like this.

Once the pan is nice and hot, put the chicken in.  Brown the chicken on each side for about 4-5 minutes.  You want to get a decent golden-brown crust on that chicken.  Once the chicken has finished browning, take it out and put it aside.  Add the carrots and onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Make sure to add some salt and pepper here as well.  Once both onions and carrots get slightly caramelized, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Push everything to one side of the pan and add the chicken breast back into the pan.  Put the herbs in and then pour the beer and chicken stock into the pan.  Now dump the entire can of beer in along with the 3 cups of chicken stock.  You want the chicken covered about ¾ way up. 

Yup, that’s a crowded pan, but it’s OK. Let this come up to a boil, then drop to medium low, cover, and simmer for a good 45 minutes.  While this is cooking, it’s probably a good idea to prep whatever sides you’re making. I made my favorite Brussel sprouts recipe.  Whose recipe is it, you ask? Mine, all mine!! Maybe I’ll share it in the future.  Anyway, I digress.  

Once the chicken has fully cooked, take it out and put it aside.  Now, you see all that delicious liquid in there?  The one flavored with the carrots, garlic, onions and herbs?  You’re gonna want to keep some of that.  Pour the liquid out into a 2-cup measuring cup using a sieve to strain out all of the vegetables and herbs. Once everything is removed, discard the vegetables and herbs. Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and put it back on the heat.  Turn the heat up to medium. Once the pan is back up to heat, add the flour and butter.  That’s right, it’s time to make a roux!  Remember, when making a roux, it should be a 1:1 ratio of fat to flour. Also, yes, we’re making gravy, baby!  You’re my #1 baby for gravy! (Side note: if ANY of you get that reference, my hats off to you.)  

Make sure to stir the flour and butter together so it’s a nice, smooth mixture.  Usually, a whisk is the best tool for this.  Let this cook for a couple of minutes or until it just starts to get golden.  The thing about roux is, the darker it gets, the thicker whatever it is you’re making.  That’s why when one makes gumbo, you make that roux dark as hell. Once it’s nice and golden, add about ¾ cup of the braising liquid you saved and stir until everything has incorporated.

Now, this might be too thick of a gravy at this point, like it was for me.  So, I added about ¼ of a cup more of the stock and got it to just the right consistency I wanted.  If you want it thicker, use less liquid. Once you’ve added however much liquid you want, let it cook for a couple of minutes while stirring often. All that was left to do at this point was slice up some chicken, plate up my dinner, and enjoy!

That chicken breast, by the way, was enough for 3 meals.  It was a MONSTAH! 

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.  I’ll be back next month.  Will it finally be a soup recipe? Maybe.  Maybe not.  Maybe instead of a soup, I’ll do a stew.  Maybe, just maybe, a beef stew? (Which is what I was going to do this month.) 

Have a very safe and happy Thanksgiving.  I’ll see you in December!

Jay Flanders

Jay Flanders is a native of Newport and avid cook. While he studied at the University of Rhode Island, he also attended the College of Food Network via his television set where he learned the basics of...