Sunday, January 6, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

I think that Crock Pots are the most cocky kitchen appliance.

Can't you imagine the Crock Pot taunting all the other appliances? "I'm so awesome, I make everything delicious and totally simple, everybody loves me. Nahh nah nahh!"

 I mean, I can't blame the Crock Pot. It literally rocks my world.

Tonight's dinner also rocked my world...we went back for seconds. It felt so right to indulge.

My second helping...
Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore simmered away for 8 hours while I went to the movies and did a bunch of chores. When it was done, there was a rich tomato-based sauce and fall-off-the-bone chicken waiting to be enjoyed.

There was a little bit more prep required for this meal than you would expect for a typical slow cooker dish, but the depth of flavor comes through and makes it all worth it.

It starts with 8 chicken thighs, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper. Then I dredged them in flour and seared them in a frying pan to create a nice, brown skin. Into the Crock Pot they go!

In the same pan, cook your vegetables (green and red peppers, and red onion) for 5 minutes until slightly tender and browned.

Place the veggies in the Crock Pot along with a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes. Stir in a large amount of dried oregano and a scant teaspoon of sugar.

"Scant teaspoon" = a teaspoon, that isn't quite filled. Very professional term. There will be a test on this later.

Cook on low for 8 hours and wait. The aroma of the peppers and tomatoes will be blissful.

During the last hour of cooking, turn the setting to high and remove the cover. This will thicken the sauce just a bit. I also stirred in the juice of 1 lemon, for an added bite.

At this point, the chicken is so tender that it will pull right away from the bones. Immediately serve on a bed of whole wheat pasta and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top. I also garnished each plate with a bit of fresh parsley.

I really loved this dinner because the flavors were complex and built on top of one another. The sauce was rich and thick, and the flavor of the peppers along with the lemon juice and the bit of sweetness from the sugar is tangy, but not sour. Add in some salty cheese, and we are totally in business. Ladies and gentlemen...start your Crock Pots!

Here's what you need for Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore:

8 chicken thighs, bone in!
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin strips
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 scant teaspoon granulated sugar
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
 Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (I used Pecorino Romano)
A couple of tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Here's what you do:

Season your chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then dredge until lightly coated in the flour.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan. Sear your chicken in batches until browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Add the seared chicken to the Crock Pot.

In the same pan, toss the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and red onion in the oil and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Scrape up any chicken drippings and add the vegetables to the Crock Pot.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, sugar, garlic and bay leaf. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

During the last hour, turn the heat to high. Stir in the lemon juice and adjust your salt and pepper. Cook uncovered until the sauce becomes thick, 45 minutes to an hour.

In the meantime, boil a pot of water and cook 1 box of whole wheat spaghetti according the the package.

To serve, top a bed of spaghetti with a generous helping of the Chicken Cacciatore. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste

No comments:

Post a Comment