CHICKEN WITH BEER AND CHICORY
European Peasant Cookery
by Elisabeth Luard
Poulet à la biere aux endives (Belgium)
Belgian food, rich with cream and butter, is among the best in Europe. Beer is used as a stewing broth, much as a French housewife uses wine. Endives or chicory — the torpedo-shaped tightly-packed heads of bitter lettuce, also known as witloof, 'white leaf' - are forced in warmth and darkness throughout the cold months, providing a crop of winter vegetables in a land which could not come by them in any other way.
Quantity: Serves 4
Time: Preparation: 30 minutes
• 1 chicken, jointed
• 2 tablespoons seasoned flour
• 4 chicory heads (endives)
• 1 large leek
• 1 large carrot
• 3 garlic cloves
• 3-4 oz unsalted butter
• 1/2 pint Belgian beer (or any light full-strength beer)
• 1/4 pint double cream
• Salt and pepper
• Utensils: A roomy enamel casserole or Dutch oven
Dust the chicken joints in the seasoned flour. Prepare the vegetables: quarter the endives vertically, trim and chunk the leeks, scrape and slice the carrots, skin and crush the garlic.
Set half the butter to heat in a roomy casserole and put in the quartered endives. Let them brown a little. Remove and reserve.
Add the rest of the butter to the hot juices in the casserole and fry the chicken joints gently, turning the pieces until they brown a little all over. Push the chicken to one side, and add the chopped leeks, carrot and garlic. Let them sizzle for 3-4 minutes.
Pour in the beer and let everything bubble up. Tuck in the endives, season with salt and pepper, lid and turn down the heat. Let the pot simmer gently for an hour, until the chicken is tender -add a little water if necessary. Pile the meat and vegetables onto a hot plate.
Stir the cream into the remaining juices in the casserole, adjust the seasoning (perhaps a little sugar?), and reheat.
Pour the sauce over all and serve piping hot, with brown bread for mopping.