I intended to write a post this week about the beauty of braising meat. It’s one of my favorite methods of cooking. Sear the meet with some onions and garlic, add a liquid, season and let simmer on very low heat until the meat is super tender. I do this on the stove, in the oven or in my slow cooker.
Monday night my intention was to make a barbecue chicken recipe I’ve developed over time. It’s one of my favorites. Cook onions until very soft, add chicken thighs and sear, add barbecue sauce, season, simmer over low heat until very tender.
Problem was I only had a tiny bit of barbecue sauce on hand. I thought I had more.
I looked around my kitchen for something I could add so there was enough liquid to actually braise. I popped open one of the few bottles of beer I have on hand — Sierra Nevada’s rye beer. I added it to the mixture with some salt and pepper. I added some smoked paprika for good measure, which I normally don’t add.
The chicken cooked as it normally would, but there was something just off about the braise sauce. The beer made it slightly too bitter. I added some more salt, but that didn’t help. As I thought what could help fix it, I listed to myself ingredients that can be included in barbecue sauce.
Eureka! Brown sugar!
I sprinkled a tiny bit of brown sugar into the sauce and cooked it a little longer. I tasted the sauce. My dinner had been saved!
I don’t think I’ll ever cook this dish again, but it proves a little thinking and creativity can save a dish. You can’t save every dish, but you certainly can save some.