Spiced Beer Braised Chicken with Apricots, Capers and Olives

 Beer braised chicken with apricots, capers, olives and pearl onions

New Year Resolution, Eat More Chicken

2016 feels more like a new book than a new year for me.  It’s strange because I don’t usually do the whole new year new beginning thing.  If I want to start something I will do it, even in December 31, and assume the risk of annoying people around me.  What I like to do is just embrace the holidays and wish for the best to everyone. 

But for some reason this year feels different, like a new chapter in my life or that cool things are about to happen.  A woman could only dream!  Nevertheless, if a life happening is really around the corner I want to be prepared with a renewed and better version of myself.  I don’t want life telling me I told you through your sixth sense, and now you are not ready for me.  You know, life could sometimes have an attitude…

In that light I decided to make 7 resolutions for this year that will grow me up into a person suited to write those blank pages of my 2016 book.  Let me share them with you:

1.   Unsubscribe from (literally) hundreds of promo emails and newsletters.  I’m I the only one that has 250 unread emails for just 2 days of not checking your personal account?!  I know all of the senders are really interested in taking out the Brazilian hot body that inhabits inside me or give me a super exclusive 2% discount offer that only lasts 5 seconds, but I have resolve that I will focus in the information I just need and eliminate all the noise around it.

2.   Start living the future.  It may sound obvious, but when you’re in the bubble of your own life, you probably don’t give much thought on how things start.  Day by day the world moves so fast and automated that one just forgets how to start things, and thinks of the future as something already written and far.  In a blink of an eye 5 years passed and suddenly that future that is now your present, probably without the things you envisioned for it.  Those things are still living in the future of your head.  So I decided this year I will stop willing and start being or doing.  Even if you start with the tiniest step to any goal, you will be finally be living your future.  Isn’t that cool? And you don’t even need a Delorean to do that!

3.   Fall in love all over again.  I want to feel the love for my life, my family and my daughter.  Not just saying it.  Really feel that adrenaline rush through my veins again for all things life.

4.   Exercise as a habit.  Because nothing like an old traditional resolution to start a fresh new year.

5.   Make recipes from the inspiration list, trendy or not.  When I started this blog I created an inspiration list for recipe ideas.  Ironically, only a few made it to the blog.  “Why is that?” you may ask.  Because I got too excited with new things I started seeing that my attention span, once more, let me down for a while.  But doing some tidying across my files I saw some great ideas that I had forgotten and the thought of making them thrilled me as the first day I saw them.  So even if I will incorporate season trends every once in a while to keep up with the cool kids, I will be scratching that inspiration list making foods that, even if they’re too 6 months ago, they will always bring joy to our bellies.

6.   Eat more vegetables.  I have always been good at eating vegetables…as a side dish.  I want to create and enjoy dishes with vegetables as a main dish.  Vegetables with vegetables side dishes if you will.  Because roaming Yotam Ottolenghi Plenty More book makes you want to be that person.

7.   Eat more chicken.  Poor chicken has had a second tier standing.  But after Thanksgiving I kept thinking how many wonderful recipes you could create with poultry.  Chicken, especially has this warm rustic essence that makes you want to have that kind of comfort in every meal.  Hence this wonderful recipe…

 This beer braised chicken with capers and olived goes great with mashed potatoes
 Spiced beer braised chicken

Recipe notes:

1.     Since the main character here is the chicken, buy the best quality meat.  Organic, free range, free from hormones and antibiotics will definitely yield a tender, clean thigh pieces.

2.     When browning the chicken, move the pieces slightly to prevent the skin sticking to the bottom.

3.     The coconut cream I used was organic coconut pulp that comes in the small tin, not to be confused with the more popular coconut cream to make piña coladas that is clear and full of sugars and trans fats.

4.     For this recipe I used a spiced ale that really brought out the sweetness of the apricots, but any ale will do!

5.     I highly recommended to serve with mashed potatoes.

 Beer braised chicken with apricots, capers, olives and pear onions

Spiced beer braised chicken with capers, olives and dried apricots
4 to 6 pieces
Total time - 50 minutes  Active time - 20 minutes
Equipment - Cast iron pan or large deep skillet that can go under the broiler

Organic free range chicken tights – 4 to 6 tights
Fine sea salt – 1 ½ Tsp + pinch + ¼ Tsp
Freshly ground black pepper – to taste
Unbleached flour, coconut flour or arrowroot – ½ cup, placed in bowl
Olive oil – 2 TBSP
Fresh parsley – 3 sprigs, plus more to serve
Vegetable spread or butter – ½ Tsp
Pearl onions – 6 to 8
Olives mix – ½ cup
Dried apricots – ½ cup
Freshly squeezed lemon juice – 1 TBSP, juice of half lemon approximately
Capers – 1 TBSP
Chicken stock – 2 cups
Spiced ale – 1 cup
Coconut cream – 1 TBSP

Prepare the chicken tights by sprinkling them on both sides with the 1 ½ teaspoon of salt and a good amount of freshly ground pepper.  Toss both sides through the flour and set aside.

Heat the olive oil with the parsley in a deep or cast iron skillet over medium high heat, for about two minutes.  Place the chicken, skin side down, and cook for 2 minutes on both sides, 4 minutes total, moving it from time to time to prevent the skin from sticking to the pan.  Remove the thighs from the heat and discard the parsley springs.

Add to the pan the ½ teaspoon of vegetable spread or butter and as soon as it melts add the pearl onions and sprinkle them with a good pinch of salt.  Sauté them for 1 to 2 minutes, moving them consistently, until they become translucent and brown on the edges.  Add the dried apricots and olives and continue cooking for a minute more, moving regularly to prevent scorching.  Add the capers and the lemon juice and mix one more time.  Pour the chicken stock, the coconut cream and the beer and sprinkle with the last ¼ teaspoon of salt and a good sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.  Let it boil for 2 minutes, then return the chicken thighs, skin side up, and cook uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and somewhat thickened.

Heat broiler in medium high level and place pan under it for 2 to 3 minutes, keeping and eye on it to prevent burning and rotating it twice to brown the top evenly.

 Beer braised chicken