The coffee aisles of my local grocery stores have been growing in recent years. But, for some reason, coffee has never really made into the mainstream as a cooking ingredient. Perhaps that’s because ground coffee is too coarse to dissolve nicely into a sauce, and instant coffees are notorious for their crappiness. Well, we may be turning a culinary corner with the introduction of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew – the first instant coffee from Starbucks, and a new staple-to-be of my spice rack. For this recipe, I chose the Colombia roast, which is a medium-bodied coffee that adds a subtle but important rich background flavor to the braised chicken. The sweet onions balance out the bitterness of the coffee and make this a wonderful and unique dish.
Makes: 2 Grande Servings
Total kitchen time: 75 minutes
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 single-serving packets Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Colombia
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 can white beans, drained
- Olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Heat a dutch oven over high heat. (You can use a heavy-bottomed pot or deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid).
- Coat the chicken breasts on all sides with a small amount of olive oil. Add to the pot and sear each side until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Remove the chicken and let rest.
- Add the cider vinegar and deglaze the bottom of the pan with a spoon (scrape up all the brown bits).
- Add the diced onion and reduce the heat to medium. Sweat the onion over medium heat until softened and slightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add the Starbucks VIA Ready Brew coffee and stir to coat the onions. Then, add the water and brown sugar. Stir to combine, and add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Return the chicken to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for about an hour, or until the chicken pulls apart easily with a fork.
- Before plating, warm the white beans in a small skillet. Plate a portion of beans into a shallow bowl, then add one chicken breast and top with onions.
I’m excited by the notion that coffee may appear more widely than as a pork rub or in baked goods. I can’t think of any other ingredient that imparts as rich a flavor and aroma, except perhaps wine. Hmm, coffee and wine sharing culinary characteristics? This is gonna get really interesting…
Full disclosure: I got free stuff but that doesn’t pay for my opinion.