|sauteed vegetables add flavor to lots of braised dishes|
|Many of my recipes begin with diced onions and sliced mushrooms, too many my daughter would surely contend.|
A basic crock pot method is much more valuable than an individual recipe because, once mastered, it becomes dozens upon dozens of different dishes. One need only change an ingredient or two or three, and the dish is completely tranformed. We'll start with that and go on to many, many possibilities. Most will include vegetables with the chicken. If you have time to saute them before adding them to the crock pot, you'll enjoy additional depth of flavor. If not, they're still darned good.
I use a fairly large crock pot usually, though this method is completely adaptable to almost any size, except maybe the gravy boat or the mini crock.
Basic Crock Pot Chicken
1/2 to 1 cup onions, sliced or chopped
3 or 4 garlic cloves, whole, sliced, or chopped
2 carrots, thickly sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons oil (only if you saute vegetables first)
4 to 8 ounces chicken broth, I use Pacific
8 chicken thighs or 1 whole chicken
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 to 3 tablespoons sweet rice flour (completely optional.)
If you plan to saute vegetables, do this first in a few tablespoons of olive oil or chicken fat. Coconut oil would also work well here. This step is optional but fun and rewarding if you have the time.
- Layer ingredients in the crockpot: vegetables first, sprinkle with rice flour if using, add chicken, then tarragon, salt, pepper, and broth. About the rice flour, while I love the way it thickens a dish like this, I don't use grains anymore. I'm still playing with other thickeners but haven't zeroed in on anything.
- TaDa! Cover and cook. At low heat this should take from 6 to 8 hours. At high heat, four hours should be plenty.
As in any dish, if you know you don't like an ingredient, say tarragon leaves, don't use them. Substitute an herb you do like, thyme is one of my favorites, or leave it out entirely. It'll still be great. My next post will include many, many options for chicken, including chile verde and an Italian-style with spicy tomato sauce.