I am a fan of the Dark Side…of the chicken.
When you look at the dark side, careful you must be. For the dark side looks back.
This is a good thing for slow cooker chicken. Slow cookers plus chicken breasts equal dry, stringy meat. But chicken thighs...oh, glorious dark meat, falling off the bone.
Here is a straightforward chicken braise, based on a recipe from Alice Waters. A few aromatics, some tomatoes for sweetness, a little wine to perk it up with acidity. And lots of chicken thighs.
The liquid that comes out of the crock pot is almost as good as the chicken. Serve with baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, or dinner rolls, and smother them with the chicken juices.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Braised Chicken Thighs
Adapted From: Alice Waters The Art of Simple Food
Cooking time: 6 hours
- Slow Cooker 6 quart or larger. I love my All-Clad with the stove top safe crock. I can brown the chicken and saute the aromatics in one pot.
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 3 pounds chicken thighs (about 8)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 pound baby carrots
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup dry white wine (I used Riesling)
- 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
1. Brown the chicken thighs
Sprinkle the chicken thighs evenly with two teaspoons of salt and pepper. In a large fry pan (or a stove top safe slow cooker insert), heat the teaspoon of oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook until the chicken skin is golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken to a bowl.
2. Saute the aromatics
Pour out all but a tablespoon of the chicken fat in the pan, then add the onions, carrots, garlic, and tomato paste. Sprinkle with one teaspoon kosher salt, and saute until the onions are softened and lightly browned on the edges, about five minutes. Add the white wine to the pan, bring to a boil, and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the diced tomatoes, rosemary, and thyme. Pour the contents of the pan into the slow cooker, then nestle the chicken thighs into the vegetables.
3. Slow cook the chicken
Cook the chicken on low heat for 6 hours, or high heat for 3 hours.
Scoop the chicken thighs, onions, carrots and tomatoes out of the slow cooker with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a platter. Degrease the liquid in the crock with a gravy strainer, then pour some of it over the chicken, and pass the rest at the table.
- No slow cooker? No problem. Instead of pouring everything into the the slow cooker, nestle the chicken pieces in the fry pan, add a cup of water, then move the entire fry pan into a 350*F oven for one hour. (If your fry pan doesn't have an oven safe handle, transfer everything to a dutch oven before moving it into the oven.)
- Chicken thighs (or legs) are also a good deal. You can usually get them for less than two dollars a pound, even if they are locally grown, organic chicken. Which you should - there's no sense in being penny wise and pound foolish, and saving money on chicken thighs. Get the good ones.
- Now if only I would listen to my own advice, and not give in to the siren song of $0.69 cent chicken legs at the grocery store.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Alice Waters The Art of Simple Food
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