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It’s a quick and easy beer and cheese sauce for a simple popular dish. The dish is a cassolette of chicken bites sautéed in onions, shallots, and garlic and smothered in a cheesy sauce. Or…
You can also marinate the chicken in a premium Belgian ale, then cook the chicken pieces with the onions, shallots, and garlic and finish off the dish with a cheesy sauce. All you need are a few slices of batard to dip in the sauce.
This recipe may be served in a small container but it is huge in flavor! I served it in a 12-ounce cassolette aka tall soufflé dish and never made it to the bottom.
An 8 or 10 oz. cassolette makes a more appropriate serving considering the rest of the meal – bread and salad or vegetable.
Are you hungry yet?
Poulet à La Bière et Maroilles
What makes this cassolette of Poulet à La Bière et Maroilles prime comfort food, in my opinion, is the cheese. Not just any cheese but a regional specialty – Maroilles. The beer is not bad either 🙂
The recipe is keeping it in the neighborhood and in the family! Maroilles is the closest thing to a unique regional cheese – regional as in my home county!
It’s also in the family. There are plenty of Belgian genes flowing in my blood we’re no strangers to beer from the low countries.
Does Maroilles compare to any American cheese? Not really. Not even close to cheddar equates with Vermont. Maroilles is made near home and it’s one of those cheeses that does not travel well or far. It’s a Ch’ti thing.
Maroilles is a cheese that has been around forever! With its square shape and orange rind, it has a very distinct flavor with an aroma all its own.
It tastes earthy… mushroomy without mushrooms and smells salty or what some might refer to as plain stinky. Not to the locals.
I wish I could compare it to intense Triple Cream Brie but about the only thing they have in common is the high-fat content that allows them to easily melt into a scrumptious sauce.
Maroilles has a minimum of 45% fat content.
Where To Find The Right Cheese
It’s not easy to find Maroilles in the United States. So the easiest way to prepare this recipe without this “Fromage du Nord” is to find a cheese that is similar in consistency – a pungent cheese that melts easily – and one that pairs well with beer.
A Boulette d’Avesnes is technically part of the Maroilles cheese family. With its herbs and spices, it would make a yummy cheese sauce as well.
Meadow Creek Dairy® Grayson cheese is perhaps the closest to Maroilles in a locally available cheese made in Virginia.
I buy it at Wegmans®!
The beer is Belgian ale bottled at the farm and topped off with a mushroom-shaped cork secured with wire! How many beers pop open like a bottle of the best cider or champagne? Never mind the kick or the flavor. Very hoppy and close to 7% alcohol. You know when you’ve had a glass or two.
And the beer enhanced cheese sauce is all the tastier for it.
Where did I buy the beer? Also at Wegmans®.
- 2 large Perdue® organic Chicken Breasts, cut into 1/2 pieces
- 8 oz. of Maroilles, Grayson or Reblochon, cut into small pieces
- 1 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of Beurre Président® salted butter
- 1 large shallot, diced
- Medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, diced fine
- 3 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the chicken breasts in a deep glass dish. Pour about 1 cup of beer over them or a little more - just enough to come up the sides but not cover the chicken.
- Marinate for about 30 minutes, turning the chicken over several times.
- While the chicken is marinating in the beer, taste the beer and dice the onion, shallot and mince the garlic.
- Add to a skillet and sauté over medium high heat. You want to give the onion and shallot some colors but not burn them.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- There are two ways to prepare the cassolettes. With dry chicken or chicken marinated in beer.
- While the onion and shallot are taking on some color, cut the chicken into bite size pieces about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch square.
- If you decided to marinate, remove from beer marinade and also cut into pieces. Reserve the beer.
- At this point, you can opt to remove the onion mixture from the pan, add a tablespoon of butter and sauté the chicken pieces until golden.
- OR... you can remove the onion mixture from the pan, add the butter and add the marinated chicken pieces directly to the pan. They will render the beer and poach the chicken in the rendered liquid.
- Cook the chicken until there is no pink left. Simmer for about 6 to 8 minutes over low heat.
- Remove from heat source and carefully add cream to beer broth. Stir to combine well.
- Add pieces of cheese around the pan to distribute the melting cheese as quickly as possible.
- Divide the chicken and onion mixture evenly in 4 cassolette containers. Ladle the sauce evenly over the meat.
- Top with a slice of cheese and sprinkle a little parsley over top.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Serving Size:10 oz.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 616 Total Fat: 60g Saturated Fat: 38g Trans Fat: 2g Unsaturated Fat: 18g Cholesterol: 199mg Sodium: 313mg Carbohydrates: 9g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 5g Protein: 13g
A cassolette of Beer Cheese Chicken is the perfect meal for a chilly winter weekday. We’ve had snow, sleet, rain, sunny days and more snow.
All in the past ten days and we’re barely into the month of March.
All things considered, I would eat this meal any day of the week in any weather.
I just need several slices of crisp baguette and a green salad. And of course, the rest of the beer as a beverage!