Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

So, funny thing, pretty much the only reason why I made this was because I had celery in my fridge and I didn’t want it to go to waste. That always happens when I buy celery. I use a few a few stalks and then the rest gets thrown out. I was determined not to let that happen again. So, I knew I wanted to make something in my slow cooker but wasn’t sure what and then came across this recipe in my favorite slow cooker cookbook.

What was even better, this is one of my favorite types of slow cooker recipes – throw it in there and let it cook. I know that doesn’t sound to proper considering we are talking about food, but, I will assume that you know what I mean. In my slow cooker I added in chicken, andouille sausage, okra, green bell pepper, celery, onion, cayenne pepper, salt, can of diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. Now, it may look like there isn’t enough liquid in there….

But, after cooking on low for about 4 hours there was more than enough liquid. One thing I didn’t do that the recipe called for was adding a cornstarch-water mixture after 3 hours to thicken the liquid. I find that I am not too keen on thickening the liquid because it tends to look congealed after refrigerating it. Granted, all is well once it is warmed up, but, since I am cool with the thinner liquid I stick with that. One more thing, this was delicious, but, if you don’t like spice, I suggest using less cayenne pepper. To go along with the gumbo I made white rice and it’s the perfect accompaniment to soak up all the juices.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 lb. andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 pound okra, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3 celery stacks, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup cornstarch

White rice, for serving (optional)

Directions

In a slow cooker combine the chicken, sausage, okra, pepper, celery, onion, cayenne pepper and salt. Add the diced tomatoes, along with their juices, and the chicken broth and give everything a few good stirs to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.

In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch along with 1/4 cup water. Stir into the gumbo to thicken it, cover and continue cooking for an additional hour or until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with white rice.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Caribbean Chicken

Every week there are two questions I dread… What should I make for lunch for the week and what should I make for dinner? I try to switch it up and make different things but sometimes I just run out of ideas or quite simply I just don’t feel like cooking. Thankfully, I have a binder of organized recipes I have been collecting for quite some time and I am finally putting them to good use. This Caribbean Chicken recipe is one that I ripped out from Food Network Magazine a few years ago and I am sure I will be making it again.

To start I browned boneless skinless chicken thighs that I seasoned with curry powder, allspice, thyme salt and pepper in melted coconut cream that I skimmed off the stop of the coconut milk. Just remember not to shake the coconut milk or you won’t be able to skim this cream off of it.

 

Once the chicken was browned I transferred it to a plate and added onion, garlic, cilantro, a serrano chili and thyme sprigs to my Dutch oven and cooked until the onions began to soften. 

 

I then returned the chicken to the pot along with water and the remaining coconut cream and milk from the can and cooked it covered on medium-low heat, for about 15 minutes until the sauce was thickened and the chicken was cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. And finally, I added in a cup frozen peas and carrots thawed and cooked everything until the pear and carrots were warmed through. I then seasoned it with salt and pepper.

 

And served it with white rice.

 

Caribbean Chicken

Ingredients:

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 3 sprigs

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, quartered

1 13.5 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (do not shake)

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 Scotch bonnet, habanero or serrano chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed

Cooked white rice for serving

Directions:

Combine the curry powder, allspice, chopped thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl and use it to season the chicken.

Skim 2 tablespoons of the solid cream off the top of the coconut milk and transfer to a large Dutch oven or pot and melt over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, chili and thyme sprigs to the pot and cook, stirring until the onions are softened. Return the chicken to the pot along with a 1/4 cup of water and the coconut milk along with any remaining coconut cream. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Remove the thyme sprigs and add the peas and carrots and continue cooking until warmed through.

Serve with rice.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

 

Slow Cooker Sunday: Indian Butter Chicken

Happy Sunday! I came across this recipe on Food Network’s Instagram feed and knew I had to try it.

I began by crumbling a 1/2 piece of naan into the bottom of my slow cooker. On top of that I added in thinly sliced red onion, quartered red potatoes, a sliced jalapeno and chopped cilantro stems.

On top of that I arranged chicken thighs in a single layer and then sprinkled them garam masala, kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. I also placed a cinnamon stick and dotted the chicken the butter.

And finally I poured tomato sauce over everything.

I set it to cook on low for 7 hours and then switched the slow cooker to the warm setting and gently stirred in heavy cream and let it stand for 10 minutes.

And finally I stirred in chopped cilantro leaves…

And then served myself some over basmati rice and a piece of naan… YUM!

 

Slow-Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

3 pieces naan bread

1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 pound baby red-skinned potatoes, halved or quartered depending on size

1 Fresno or jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced

1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated and chopped

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 6)

1 tablespoon garam masala

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cinnamon stick

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Crumble 1/2 piece naan into the bottom of a slow cooker insert. On top of that add the onion, potatoes, pepper and cilantro stems.

Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the garam masala, 3/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Dot the chicken with the butter and add the cinnamon stick and then pour the tomato sauce over the top. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

Uncover and switch to the warm setting and pour in the heavy cream. Gently stir in the heavy cream and break the chicken into large chunks. Let it stand for 10 minutes and then stir in the cilantro leaves and season with salt if necessary.

Serve with the remaining naan and basmati rice.

Recipe from Food Network

Slow Cooker Sunday: Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew

So, I personally think that one of the best things to make in a slow cooker is soup / stew. I consider them to be more or less one in the same. And this week I am bringing you a Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew that is the ideal Slow Cooker Meal. The only prep is some dicing, chopping and cutting. No sautéing veggies or heating the aromatics to develop the flavors. You control the level of spice with a jar of salsa. I got this recipe in the cookbook I mentioned last week… Slow Cooker Family Favorites. I’m 2 for 2 with the recipes in this book… Yay!

I began by stirring together salsa, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper in the bowl in my slow cooker.

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I then added in diced potatoes, frozen corn, cut celery & carrots, a diced onion and minced garlic.

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I gave everything a few good stirs to make sure the vegetables were coated by the salsa mixture.

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And finally, I placed 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs on top of the vegetables and poured in a can of chicken broth.

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So, according to the directions the stew was to be cooked on high for 4 hours, or until the chicken was cooked through and the vegetable were tender. After 4 hours the chicken was cooked through, so I removed it from the slow cooker and shredded it using two forks. But, my vegetables were still a bit undercooked, so I returned the chicken to the slow cooker and cooked everything for about another 2 hours.

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Which I think was the best thing. The end result were vegetables that were perfectly tender, but, better yet, the chicken was really able to absorb the flavors of the stew. YUM!

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I packed a bowl for lunch the following day and I must say it was even better then and each subsequent day!

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Spicy Chicken Mexican Stew

Ingredients:

1 16-oz jar spicy salsa*

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes**

1 16 ounce package frozen corn***

2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs****

1 14.5-oz chicken broth (approximately 2 cups)

 

*I used Chi-Chi’s Medium Thick & Chunky Salsa

**I used 2 medium sized potatoes and 1 small one

**The package I used was 12 oz.

****About 1 3/4 pounds of chicken

 

Directions:

In the bowl of a slow cooker stir together the salsa, cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper.

Add the potatoes, corn, celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Toss everything to coat the vegetables.

Place the chicken on top and then pour in the chicken broth.

Set to cook on high for 4-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Once chicken is cooked, remove from the slow cooker and shred with two forks and return to the slow cooker. Season for taste.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken and Hominy Stew

Hey Everyone! For this week’s Slow Cooker Sunday I am bringing you a stew that those of you who are sensitive to spiciness may find too spicy and those of you on the other end of the spectrum will say “Where’s the spice?” I’m on the latter side of that statement. I truthfully didn’t think the stew had any kick to it but others who tried it did, but, not so much that they weren’t able to enjoy it. So, what is this stew? Well, it’s a Chicken and Hominy Stew.

Once again, this is another of my favorite types of slow cooker meals… Just chop, drain then add to the slow cooker and let the machine work its magic. After cutting boneless skinless chicken thighs into approximately 1-inch pieces I placed them in the bottom of my slow cooker. Next I added in 2 seeded and chopped poblano chile peppers, half a bunch of cilantro that I roughly chopped and two cans of hominy that I rinsed and drained. If you are wondering what exactly is hominy check out this link.

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I then added in my liquids… low-sodium chicken broth and a jar of mild salsa verde.

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And finally I added in two corn tortillas that I tore into small pieces. I then covered it and set it to cook on low for 7 hours. Now, if you have a programmable slow cooker you need not worry about your start time, but, if you have a slow cooker like mine – I have one that has a 4 and 6 hour cook setting for high and a 8 and 10 hour cook setting for low, and a separate warm setting – make sure you take note of your start time. You don’t want to “overcook” the soup and end up with chicken that’s on the verge of shredding. You want a bit of bite to this soup since it is a stew.

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And after 7 hours it was time to enjoy a bowl. I topped it with some chopped avocado and enjoyed it with an extra corn tortilla on the side. Overall there’s not one thing about this stew I would change. The flavors all worked well together and like I said earlier I definitely didn’t feel like it was too spicy, it was just right!

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Hominy Stew

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 15-ounce cans hominy, drained and rinsed

2 poblano chile peppers, seeded and chopped

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 16-ounce jar salsa verde

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 6-inch corn tortilla

Kosher salt

Options for topping:

sour cream

avocado, diced

cilantro, chopped

romaine lettuce heart, shredded

corn tortillas, warmed

Directions:

Add the chicken, hominy, peppers and cilantro to the slow cooker. Add the broth, salsa verde and salt and stir to combine. Next, tear the 2 corn tortillas into small pieces and add to the slow cooker. Give everything a good stir, cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

If serving with the tortillas, warm them according to the package directions. Top each serving of the stew with your favorite topping and enjoy. Serve with the warmed tortillas on the side.

*Please note I use a 5 1/2-quart slow cooker.

Recipe modified from The Food Network

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken Tikka Masala

Welcome to my new (and first) series… Slow Cooker Sunday. As the temperatures drop and the craziness of the holidays approach you may want something hearty and stress-free for dinner and the perfect solution to that is a slow-cooker dinner. You put all of your ingredients into the cooker in the morning, set it to cook on a high or low setting depending on your time needs and by the time you are ready to sit down to dinner your meal is ready and clean-up is a breeze. It can’t get better than that. A slow-cooker meal is also perfect for during the week, whether you are working, running errands or taking care of kids. That dreaded question that may run through your mind throughout the day – “what should I make for dinner?” – can easily be answered. So be sure to check back every Sunday to see what new meal I post. For today’s first Slow Cooker Sunday meal I am bringing you Chicken Tikka Masala. This is something I always order whenever I go out to an Indian restaurant. I am always tempted to order something different but I always settle on this favorite.

I began by cutting about a pound and a half of boneless skinless chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and marinating them in yogurt for a few hours. Afterwards I placed them in the bottom of my slow cooker. In case you are wondering, marinating the chicken in yogurt helps to tenderize the chicken.

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Next, in a sauté pan I cooked a diced onion and three minced garlic cloves in olive oil until the onion was softened. I then stirred in fresh grated ginger, tomato paste, garam masala, paprika and Kosher salt. Garam masala is what gives this dish its incredible flavor. Typically it’s a blend of black and white peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, black and green cardamom, bay leaf and cumin. Initially I looked for it in the international aisle of my supermarket and with no luck there I checked out the spice area and was able to find it among the McCormick Gourmet spices. I should have known it would be among the “fancy” spices in the glass bottles… LOL!

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I then added the onion mixture to the chicken in the slow cooker along with a can of diced tomatoes. After stirring everything together I covered it and cooked it on high for 4 hours. I typically like to use my slow cooker on the low setting, but, I needed this dish to be done in the early afternoon.

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Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking I stirred in heavy cream and left the cover off of the slow cooker so the sauce could thicken. Meanwhile I made basmati rice…

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Which I served on the side with some of the chicken. This was INCREDIBLY delicious and just as good as the Chicken Tikka Masala I’ve had at some of my favorite Indian restaurants. I can’t wait to make it again.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Ingredients:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bit-sized pieces

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 large onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1-inch piece whole ginger, peeled and grated

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons garam masala

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 cups cooked basmati rice, to serve

Directions:

Marinate the chicken in the yogurt for up to six hours or as little as an hour. Shake to remove the excess yogurt and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Sauté the onions and garlic in a little olive oil over medium-high heat until the onions have softened. Stir in the ginger, tomato paste, garam masala, paprika and salt. Transfer to the slow cooker on top of the kitchen. Add in the diced tomatoes. Stir to combine everything.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. Make note of the start time because 15 minutes before the end of cooking add in the heavy cream. If you would like a thicker sauce leave the cover off for these final 15 minutes. Serve over rice.

*Please note I use a 5 1/2 quart slow-cooker.

Recipe from the kitchn

A Quick and Easy Coq au Vin

The first time I had Coq au Vin was at a cooking demonstration class at Williams Sonoma. I purchased the braising base that was used at the class but unfortunately my result was nothing like the one I tasted at the class. I think part of the reason was that I still wasn’t all that comfortable with cooking – I’m more of a baker, but, slowly but surely my cooking ability is starting to even out with my baking ability. Recently I came across a recipe for Coq au Vin in a magazine and decided to try making it once again, this time from scratch, and I had much better results. And in case you are wondering, Coq au Vin is a French dish of braised chicken in red wine and normally contains bacon, garlic, onions and mushrooms.

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Up first I sliced baby bella mushrooms, minced 2 cloves of garlic and chopped some fresh thyme.

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I then cooked three slices of bacon, which I cut into half-inch pieces, in two teaspoons of olive oil until they were brown, but not crispy.

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After removing the bacon from the Dutch oven and setting it aside I browned four chicken thighs which I seasoned with salt and pepper.

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Next I cooked the mushrooms along with a 16 oz. bag of frozen white pearl onions for a few minutes until they began to soften.

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Following that I added in the thyme, garlic and a tablespoon of tomato paste.

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And then red cooking wine. I cooked the mixture for about 5 minutes until the wine reduced by half…

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And then added in chicken stock.

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And finally I returned the chicken to the pot, reduced the heat to low and partially covered the pot and allowed the chicken to cook through and the onions to soften, about 40 minutes.

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And for the final step, I dissolved three tablespoons of cornstarch in an equal amount of water and added it to the cooking liquid after transferring the chicken to a plate. Once the liquid thickened I returned the chicken and bacon to the pot, stirring to coat the chicken. I must say I have used cornstarch to thicken cooking liquids before but I normally just add it directly to the liquid, dissolving it in water is a much better method as it eliminates the possibility of any clumps forming in the liquid.

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Final Verdict… Definitely something I will make again, although I think next time I won’t add the cornstarch.

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Easy Coq au Vin – Slightly modified from here

Ingredients:

3 slices center cut bacon, cut into half-inch pieces

2 tsp. olive oil

4 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs

16 oz. frozen pearl onions

10 oz. baby bella mushrooms, trimmed and sliced

1 tbsp. tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup red cooking wine

2 cups chicken stock

3 tbsp. cornstarch

Directions:

1. In a 5 to 6 quart Dutch oven, cook the bacon in the oil over medium heat until browned but not too crispy. Transfer the bacon to a small bowl lined with a napkin. Season the chicken with salt and pepper (I used about 1/2 tsp. each). Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

2. Add the onions and mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften. Stir in the tomato paste, thyme and garlic. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring the liquid to a simmer. Return the chicken and any juices to the pot. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover and gently simmer, turning the chicken once or twice, until the chicken is cooked through and the onions are tender, about 40 minutes.

3. In a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch in tbsp. water. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the cooking liquid to a bowl. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken and bacon to the pot, stirring to coat.