Made this last night. My prep time was well over an hour, with about 1/2 hr for clean up. The only modifications I made were using turkey bacon and EXTRA Stout Guiness. Thighs held up really well to the slow cooker, but you have to trim them and remove some of those funky little grisly pieces. The browning before hand gives them a head start, so cook time (on low) could probably be 6 hours. Had friends over for dinner and all of us loved this flavorful, fragrant stew. Not sure why reviewers thought it did not have flavor. Served it over rice with a salad. A really nice meal on a cold night.
Slow-Cooker Stout & Chicken Stew
From EatingWell: January/February 2012
Chicken thighs can take plenty of cooking without getting tough or drying out, which makes them perfect for the slow cooker. Here we braise them in Guinness stout along with hearty vegetables, with just the right amount of bacon for added savoriness.
46 Reviews for Slow-Cooker Stout & Chicken Stew
This is an amazing stew if you doctor it up a bit. I made the following changes at my husband and I found it is fantastic!
6 pieces of bacon instead of 3
A beer and a half instead of just 1 beer
4 chopped onions instead of 2
7 cloves of garlic instead of 4
Add a 12 baby potatoes halved or quartered
triple the amount of thyme
Add a few tablespoons of worchestershire sauce or so and a few tablespoons of paprika
Add a few pinches of cayenne pepper
With these changes the stew is wonderful!!!
After all that time spent prepping, I was very disappointed in the lack of flavor. I couldn't taste the Guinness at all.
While this may require some prep work before the slow-cooker, it is well worth it. The only change I made was to add a few dashes of Worchestershire Sauce at the end. I didn't find the taste to be overly "stouty", which was a concern because I don't like strong alcohol flavors in my foods (not a fan of marsala recipes). The flavors were well balanced. I found this to be a perfect recipe.
It turned out thick and hearty; which I found to be perfect because it was cold outside. I made biscuits brushed with butter, garlic powder, and parsley flakes. A+++++ recipe, will make again!
After reading all the reviews, I had some ideas for tweaking. I lightly salted the thighs before dredging (the salt tends to fall to the bottom of the flour mix), and also added a little salt to the flour mixture. I also added two packets of sodium-free chicken broth, which I think made the sauce/gravy a little more succulent. I forgot the mushrooms, dang it, which I think will add to the savory flavor when I make it again. I was short on time, so I cooked it on high for about 5 hours...that was a mistake, I think, since the chicken thighs completely fell apart, but it tasted fine. I added some chunked up fingerling potatoes which were perfect. I also left half of the onion in larger chunks, just cuz I love big chunks of onion in stew. I tasted the gravy after about three hours (figuring the chicken was cooked by then!) and was dismayed to taste a harshness--I think the alcohol had not completely cooked off...thankfully, though, by the time we ate it it was deee-licous.