My spring cleaning started a little late this year. To be honest, these days I just don't have the time for a real, full-on spring cleaning. What is more likely to happen is I will walk into a room and open a drawer or a cabinet and realize it is a mess. I will tackle that one corner and suddenly be hit by a cleaning frenzy that will persist until I have pretty much gone through the whole room, seaking out hidden spots or black holes (yes, those places in which all the useless crap you have lying around your apartment tends to accumulate). That is exactly what happened the other day when I opened one of my son's drawers: a folding attack ensued followed by my realising that a sorting was long overdue (you know it is time when your 2-yr old still has baby socks and a few 6-12-month tshirts lying around in there).
It also happened in the kitchen recently, when I decided to organize my overflowing cupboards. I got rid of the expired stuff (ouch!), separated cans of tuna from jams and honey, reuniting them with their long-lost friends the anchovies and capers. As I was color-coordinating my sugar in hues of white, beiges and darker browns I noticed a bottle of beer I didn't remember buying. I pulled it down from the rack and realized it was alcohol free beer. What the...? Then it hit me, I had bought that beer when I was pregnant (if you know how long ago that was, you were really attentive while reading the first paragraph) and since I am not planning another pregnancy any time soon (to say the least) I started thinking of how to get rid of it.
Throw it out? No way.
Give it to my newly-married girlfriend? Er, a touch patronizing and very cheap.
Drink it? No thank you, I've had my share of alcohol free drinks and babies.
Cook with it? Possibly.
I googled the word beer and chicken together and up came about a hundred recipes for 'beer can chicken'. Who knew that was a trend? And what do you do if you have a bottle and no BBQ? I kept searching (not that I won't consider the beer can thing, now that I discovered with further research you can do it with an oven roasted chicken too), remembering my sister-in-law makes chicken with beer. I typed in the words "birra+pollo" (Italian for beer+chicken) and up came a few interesting recipes that did not involve stuffing tin up the derrier of fowl. I guess Italian men haven't picked up on that testosterone-laden trend yet. When reading through a few of those recipes, what I did notice was that some people complained in their comments that the sauce turned out more or less bitter. The general response was to use very light beer, no stout.
Out came my chicken thighs and herbs. In less than a half hour we had some tasty, extremely tender chicken for dinner. Was it bitter? Yes, a little, despite using an extremely light beer. The chicken however was not. Also, if I remember correctly, alcohol free beer always tasted a little bitter to me. But if anyone has other suggestions on how to get rid of the bitter aftertaste, I am happy to hear them. Next time I plan to keep the sauce a little saucier and to have some crusty bread on hand. Because there will be a next time.
6 skinless chicken thighs
1 bottle/can of light beer
3 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf