We primarily cook with red or white wine as an ingredient but tonight we decided to get with lager, Jack's Abby House Lager to be exact. The Chicken with Lager recipe in Eataly: Contemporary Italian Cooking had a short list of ingredients: chicken, onion, pancetta, lager, and spices, to make for a quick & tasty dish.
Like many of the recipes, this was my first time preparing a whole chicken. We couldn't find a chicken as small as the recipe required so we went with one just over three pounds. There were instructions on how to burn the feathers off a chicken fresh from the farm (oy!) but, thankfully, we only had to cut our eight pieces from the grocery store chicken. Paul says he's adding the full shebang to his to-do list.
There is something about roasting and frying chicken that makes your kitchen smell incredible. From listening to the oil simmer to watching the ingredients transform, I've come to understand how cooking is a truly sensory experience. With these savory ingredients, I was starving the minute they hit the pan.
Cooking the chicken this way browned the skins well while also leaving the meat fall-off-the-bone soft and juicy. We had to be extra careful removing the chicken from the pan so the pieces wouldn't fall apart before being plated. And, as I've learned, that is a key indicator of a great chicken dish... nobody wants dry chicken.
We were very impressed at how the recipe turned out and will definitely be making it again. That being said, we are curious to see how changing the lager will effect the overall flavor of the dish. The Jack's Abby House Lager was highly recommended to us by the staff at our local liquor store for using in a recipe. We had no idea what to go with and were pretty satisfied with the choice.
SPOILER: I cracked a glass of Allagash to enjoy with the dish.
The recipe made more than enough for two so I was blessed with a tasty lunch the next day. It would have been the perfect serving for a group of four and could fill more with a side dish like rice, egg noodles, or a mashed potato.