It took some time before parties that I threw and now that both my husband and I throw together became so much about the food. Regardless of the occasion nowadays, when friends and family of ours get invited over to our home, the first question we usually get is “what’s on the menu?”
The spread for our gatherings never mirror each other. There are staples — dishes that return because of how they were received in the past. But the overall dining experience tends to be a new one every time.
While it is refreshing to switch things up from gathering to gathering on every level, true diversity for a dinner party is not as much reflected in the snacks you have on hand for folks to munch on while they mingle and drink. It is in the main course, more specifically in the star of the show by which whatever sides you decide to make are surrounded.
This Beer and Citrus Braised Chicken Thighs recipe is one that can be made as far in advanced as the day before. It is the centerpiece of the meal that will have your guests gravitating toward the kitchen as the dish warms. Cooked all in one large pan (or pot), few dishes are involved, which means you can spend time with your guests while your oven does the rest.
Flavors pop from the use of three kinds of citrus along with beer, onions, garlic and a spice rub you’ll want to use again and again. So invite your friends over, gather around your dinner table and share the fruits of this recipe with them. And if you’re worried that your guests will notice you’re serving the same side dish as last time, rest assured they’ll forget it once they’ve taken their first bite of this.
Beer and Citrus Braised Chicken Thighs
(recipe serving size – 6-8 pieces – double the recipe if necessary)
For the chicken:
3 lbs chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp cracked red pepper
Pre-heat your oven to 350.
Mix the spices together and cover the chicken with the spice blend, sprinkling on the bottom, top and under the skin of each thigh. Sear thighs in a cast iron skillet or other oven-safe pot or pan over medium to medium/high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Sear in batches if necessary so not to crowd.
Remove the chicken and set aside. Leave the drippings in the pan.
For the braise:
1 medium onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 can of beer
1 cup of chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 orange
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup of cilantro, chopped
Sauté the onion in the drippings on medium/high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the beer. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Return the chicken to the beer. Add the lemon, lime and orange juices, the chicken stock, salt and cilantro. Bring to a boil and place in the oven covered for 1 hour.
Remove the lid. Turn on the broiler and broil for 5 minutes. Baste the chicken and broil for another 3 minutes. Transfer the pan from the oven to your stove and remove the chicken from the braising liquid.
For the sauce:
1 tb all-purpose flour
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 tb of butter
1 tb cilantro, chopped
1-2 ice cubes
Place 1/2 cup of the braising liquid in a separate bowl. Add 1-2 ice cubes to bring down the temperature of the separated braise. Whisk in the flour until it dissolves completely. Pour the mixture back into the sauce and whisk until it is fully incorporated. Add the garlic and butter. Simmer vibrantly for 10 minutes with the lid off over medium heat. Finish with the cilantro at the end. Return the chicken to the sauce until you are ready to serve.
Bringing it all together:
There are multiple ways of serving this dish.
- To serve directly from the pan: bring the entire pan (chicken, sauce and all) to the table. Place on a trivet so the heat from the pan does not scorch the table. In addition to letting your guests know the pan may still be hot from being in the oven, keep a cloth around the handle as a visual reminder. Supply either a large serving fork or a pair of tongs for the chicken and a spoon for the sauce.
- To serve from dishes: place the pieces of chicken on a large serving platter along with a pair of tongs or a large serving fork. Pour the sauce into a gravy boat or some kind of small serving dish along with a spoon. Allow the guest to take their piece(s) of chicken from the plate and pour their own gravy.