Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chicken Provencal (In a slow cooker)

A combination of writer's block, an FDA inspection, and my lack of inspiration at the moment (thanks crazy weather) has decreased my output on the blog lately. Sorry about that. But apologies get me nowhere if I cannot produce some food!

I enjoy my slow cooker. I love beef stroganoff and slow cooked beans are consistently a favorite. However, leaving something to heat all day is not always a good idea in the summer months. Thanks to a dip in the temperature lately, I can pack up the ice cream machine and unpack the slow cooker. The first thing I decided to make was chicken Provencal, a fantastic recipe I adapted from the Cook's Illustrated cookbook.

Starting with the chicken, I am very pleased that boneless, skinless chicken thighs have percolated into my super market. They are stupendous and almost more flexible than chicken breasts. They also stew very well.
I discovered this recipe while searching for a good putanesca recipe. I'm not extremely versed in French cooking, but this preparation is actually pretty simple. You can mix and match certain parts (like more olives) to match your tastes.
Chicken Provencal (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 onions, chopped medium
14 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups white wine
28-oz crushed tomatoes
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons corn starch
4 oz. Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4-1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest.

Heat 2 teaspoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat until smoking. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place in hot skillet. Brown on both sides, about 10 minutes, and transfer to slow cooker. If the pan is too crowded brown in batches. Add remaining teaspoon oil and onions and a bit of salt, cooking until the onions are wilted, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add wine, scraping up bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the onion mixture to the slow cooker, followed by the bay leaves, thyme, oregano, tomatoes, and 1 1/2 cups of the chicken stock. Cover and cook for about 4 hours or until the chicken is very tender.

Remove chicken from cooker and transfer to plate, covering with foil. Turn slow cooker to high, whisk remaining 1/4 cup chicken stock with cornstarch and add to the mix. Cover and cook until thickened, about 15-30 minutes. Stir in the olives, parsley, and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sauce over chicken, passing additional sauce at the table.

Serve over rice, egg noodles, or soft polenta. Serves 6. Enjoy!


Catherine,  October 27, 2009 at 4:00 PM  

Thanks for this post. I would love to use my slow cooker more often, but it usually slips my mind. Also, I totally agree on the b/s chicken thighs. I rediscovered them a few years ago and always try to keep some on hand. Love the flavor. Glad to see that the grocery stores have gotten with the program.

VINCENT,  November 3, 2009 at 2:04 PM  


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