Hearty, simple, and lovingly rough around the edges, this is exactly the recipe one would not expect to find in Padma Lakshmi's Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet. It's a chicken cooked in a whole lot of Red Stripe beer. It looks like a mess, and I was ready to hate it, but it works.
After 45 minutes, the beer lends a relatively gentle aroma to the meat and all the vegetables turn out delightful. It's a satisfying dinner but actually even better as leftovers. (I shredded the chicken and used the leftover broth to create something like a chicken and potato soup.)
The hardest part, by far, is sauteing the whole chicken. The process is difficult in any circumstance and especially so in a large pot where it's hard to move the chicken around. My pot also wasn't large enough, apparently; there wasn't enough room to cook the chicken and vegetables. You could cut the chicken up into serving pieces but you'd need to adjust the cooking times. I simply added the whole chicken in without sauteing it, and the results were great.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, and quartered
- 6 carrots, peeled, and slice diagonally
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- 1 chicken
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 4 ½ to 6 cups Red Stripe, or other beer
Pour the oil into a large pot set over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, bell peppers, potatoes, carrots, bay leaves, dried oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and translucent, about five minutes.
Stuff the lemon quarters into the cavity of the chicken. If there is room, move the vegetables to the side, and saute the whole chicken on all sides until lightly browned. Otherwise, simply add the chicken to the pot. Pour in enough of the beer to mostly cover the chicken. It only took me 4 ½ cups, but could take up to 6 cups if you have a larger pot. Stir well, and once the liquid comes to a simmer, cover the pot and turn heat to medium-low.
Cook until chicken is done and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool for a few minutes. Then carve into eight pieces, and serve in a wide bowl with the vegetables and broth.