Here is a slow cooker recipe for soccer night. I walk through the door hungry, having used up my patience coaching a pack of nine to eleven year olds. I want dinner now. Now. NOW!
This is the big advantage to slow cooker meals. You can walk through the door, grab a plate, and start spooning hot food into it. All the prep and cooking happened earlier in the day.
*The downside of slow cookers is the food cooking all day. Slow cookers overcook everything; the trick is picking ingredients, like chicken legs, where overcooking is an advantage.
In other words, I’ve been seduced by the power of the dark side…of the chicken.
Now, this is not quite a “dump and cook” slow cooker recipe. After sprinkling the legs with salt, pepper, and herbes de provence, I take the time to brown them in a fry pan. Trust me, browning the chicken is worth the effort. Ten minutes of searing give the chicken and sauce a richer taste.
*And, really, come on now, browning chicken isn’t that much effort.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub
Slow cooker chicken legs, with a quick rub of herbes de provence.
- 8 chicken legs
- 4 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon per 2 legs)
- 2 teaspoons herbes de provence (or Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, or your favorite spice blend)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- Spice and brown the chicken legs: Sprinkle the chicken legs evenly with the salt, herbes de provence, and pepper. Heat a 12 inch fry pan over medium-high heat, then brown the skin on the chicken legs in two batches. Put four of the legs in the pan, skin side down, and cook until well browned, about 4 minutes. Move the browned legs to the slow cooker, then repeat with the remaining four legs. Pour the chicken fat out of the pan, return the pan to the stove, and add the 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Bring the water to a simmer, stirring and scraping any browned bits on the bottom of the pan into the liquid. Once the browned bits have loosened into the water, pour the water over the legs in the slow cooker.
- Slow cook the chicken legs: Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook the chicken legs on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Serve, passing the liquid in the crock pot on the side as a sauce.
- I served this with flour tortillas and a quick sliced cabbage slaw salad.
- Two pan browning: My slow cooker comes with a stove-top safe insert, so I use it and a fry pan to brown both batches of chicken legs at the same time.
- If you’re really in a hurry, skip the browning step. Put the spiced legs directly into the slow cooker. But, as I said in the opening, the extra ten minutes really adds to the flavor.
- If you have a fat separator, use it to separate the fat from the cooking liquid before serving it at the table.
|Passing the taste test|
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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