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Chicken with Beer

A friend of mine who knew me when I was a sweet little girl of seventeen is surprised to learn I now drink beer. This is thanks to another friend who on learning I didn’t like beer, suggested I just hadn’t found the right one. After many experimental sips I found a few beers that actually did the trick for me: from cool, pale Stella Artois and Grolsch, to caramelly Sleeman’s Honey Lager, to rich dark Guinness, served double-cold.

Before I ever started drinking beer though, I was cooking with it. Chicken with beer is a recipe I adapted years ago from James Barber’s Urban Peasant series. Yesterday I made it for dinner. My roomie was intrigued as she watched me pour Stella over the chicken browning in the pan, and I was gratified when she kept dipping into the dish for “just one more.”

1 pound chicken wings
2 tbsp butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
355 ml (1 can) beer (any kind will do)
1 tbsp soy sauce, preferably Tamari
Dash of sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsps sesame seeds, toasted

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the butter until it stops sizzling and turns golden brown. Add the minced shallot and garlic and saute until soft and semi-transparent. Add the chicken, toss evenly to coat with the butter, and cook until starting to turn golden. Pour the beer over all. Lower the heat and simmer until the liquid starts to thicken. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. If serving over rice, remove from the heat while the sauce is still a bit runny. If serving as a finger food, cook until the beer caramelizes completely and each piece is sticky and dark golden brown. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

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