Sometimes I decide what to cook not based on what I am craving, but based on what I need to use up in the fridge. This recipe was motivated by an uncommon cooking ingredient: beer. I unfortunately had leftover beer from a party that I do not like, so why not try using it up in a recipe? Aside from beer cheese, I couldn’t think of any recipes that use beer, but after some internet searches, I ran across the idea of cooking chicken in a beer sauce. Here I pan sear chicken thighs until crispy, and then finish cooking them in a chicken stock-beer gravy. There is a subtle note of beer flavor that adds an unique dimension to the sauce, but if you are not a beer fan, this recipe will work just as well without it. I paired the chicken with a side of half-mashed cauliflower and half-mashed potatoes for a complete meal!
Cooking Time: 40 mins Servings: 4
- 6 Red Potatoes
- 1 lb Cooked Riced Cauliflower
- Olive Oil (enough to coat pan)
- 3 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1/2 Chopped White or Yellow Onion
- 2-3 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 cup Light Beer (lager or ale)
- 1 cup Chicken Stock
- 1 tbsp Corn Starch
- Butter (optional)
- Milk (optional)
- Garlic and Onion Powder (optional)
- Cook the red potatoes. Instant Pot method: put the potatoes in the Instant Pot with 1/4 cup of water and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. Stovetop method: place potatoes in a large pot and cover completely with water. Cover with a lid, bring the water to a boil, and continue cooking until the potatoes are soft.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat a large deep skillet over medium high heat with enough olive oil to coat the pan.
- Generously season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, and place in pan. If the thighs have the skin on, be sure to place them in the pan skin side down. Cook for 8 minutes on both sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic cloves. Turn the heat on the pan down to medium, and add the onion. Cook until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the chicken back in the pan along with the beer and chicken stock. Continue cooking until the chicken is fully cooked and reaches 165 degrees F, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken to a plate. Thicken the leftover liquids into a sauce: add a tablespoon of the liquids to a small bowl or cup along with the corn starch; mix together well before adding it back to the liquids in the pan; continue cooking until the sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
- Mash the cooked red potatoes with the cooked riced cauliflower. Season as you would normal mashed potatoes. (My preference is adding butter, milk or heavy cream, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.)
- Plate several pieces of chicken with the mashed potatoes and cauliflower, and top with the gravy.
Ingredients pic! I decided on boneless, skinless chicken thighs so that I wouldn’t have to avoid bones while eating and so that it would be healthier. Cooking with the bone still in and with the skin on will be more flavorful. Just remember if the bone is in to cook the chicken for longer, and if the skin is on to sear the skin until crispy. The beer I used was a pale ale saison because that’s what I had leftover in my fridge. I would choose a light beer, either a lager or ale, because the flavor of a darker beer wouldn’t pair well with the chicken.
I generally use red potatoes when making mashed potatoes. Any potato variety will work, but I like the flavor from red potatoes the best. Plus, I mash them with the skin still on, and I don’t like the taste of the skin of some of the other potato varieties. Now that riced cauliflower has become popular, making mashed potatoes and cauliflower is easy! Before when making this dish, I would buy a whole head of cauliflower and use a food processor to grind it up. With riced cauliflower, that step is already done! To cook the cauliflower, either place in the microwave (if microwavable safe) or put in a pot with a small amount of water, and cover and steam.
Step 1: Have I mentioned yet how much I love my Instant Pot? Cause I absolutely LOVE my Instant Pot. Pressure cooking really does save a lot of time while delivering the same flavor as slow cooking. Since I have an Instant Pot, it’s my go-to method when cooking potatoes. Add a bit of water, add the potatoes, seal it, and done! Make sure to add the water, otherwise you will get an error message when cooking. If I didn’t have an Instant Pot, I would either use the stovetop method (described in the recipe) or a microwave. Be sure to keep checking on the potatoes and rotating them when microwaving so that they don’t burst.
Steps 2-3: Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper. I like to season the front side in the package, and then season the other side after I add it to the pan (cuts down on the amount of times I have to wash my hands). Make sure the pan is hot when adding the chicken. You should hear a sizzle when the chicken is added.
Steps 2-3: On the left is a close-up of my seasoning job on the other side of the chicken. And on the right is a picture of the seared chicken. Make sure the chicken is seared well. Cooking in the stock will soften it, so this is the opportunity to ensure a good crust stays on the chicken.
Steps 4-5: On the left is the cooked onions and garlic, and on the right is the chicken added back with the stock and beer. Keep cooking the chicken until fully cooked. I suggest checking the doneness with a cooking thermometer (cook until 165 degrees F). You can check the doneness by cutting into the largest piece and seeing if there’s any pink left, but you could easily make a mistake this way. You DO NOT want to risk having undercooked chicken. It can be very dangerous! So again, I suggest using a cooking thermometer.
Step 6: On the left is the fully cooked chicken, and on the right is the leftover liquids.
Step 6: Thicken the sauce by making a slurry with corn starch. Remove a bit of the sauce to a cup (left pic), add a tablespoon of corn starch, and combine (middle pic). Then stir the slurry back into the sauce in the pan to thicken it (right pic). The slurry is needed to help the corn starch mix properly. Otherwise the corn starch won’t work well. After adding the slurry, keep cooking the sauce on low until it thickens (it should coat the back of a spoon).
Steps 7-8: On the left is the mashed potatoes and cauliflower. I added butter, coconut milk (cause that’s the milk I keep in my fridge), onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Other ingredients that would work well include cheese, sour cream, chives, and heavy cream (basically anything you would add to normal mashed potatoes). On the right is the final plate, smothered in delicious gravy!