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Chicken in a crockpot

Chicken in a crockpot

Chicken in a crockpot

To sear or not to sear. I tried both ways because I like to know what I’m talking about when I’m giving you the most delicious slow cooker chicken breast you’ve ever had. What I found was not a lot of difference between the two. If you want to sear it beforehand, go ahead, if you’re frazzled enough as it is and want to dump and go, do that. Butter (my secret ingredient that makes all the difference). Or margarine. Another moment of honesty — I use margarine a lot. I just don’t hate it. Chicken thighs are known to have much better flavor and juiciness than breasts, and it’s because they have 3x the amount of fat. I figured if I added just a little bit of fat into the slow cooker, I could give my chicken breasts some of that some fat love. (SPOILER: it works. It’s delicious, and not even drowning in half a cup).I woke up one morning, the morning I wanted to start testing this slow cooker chicken breast, with my chicken breasts still rock solid in the freezer because I, like many parents of 3 kids 6 and under, had forgotten to take them out.

SLOW

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As much as I love to be adventurous with ingredients and flavors, including in my collection of crock pot meals (this Slow Cooker Chicken Curry and this Slow Cooker Yogurt Chicken Shawarma are two absolute favorites), I also appreciate the all-American, family-friendly meals that were a part of my Midwestern upbringing: the Crock Pot Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup; the Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff; the Crock Pot Mexican Casserole (<—yes, Mexican-inspired recipes feel very All-American to me!); the classic Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie. Don’t Over Do The Onion. I wanted this crock pot recipe to be as easy as possible, so I cut out as many of the prep steps as I could, including sauting the veggies before adding them to the slow cooker. Unless you are a super raw onion fan, be sure to chop the onion very finely and don’t add too much. You can also use a shallot as I suggest, since shallots have a more mild flavor. If you are using an onion and concerned about it being too strong, you can go ahead and sauté it on the stove before adding it to the crock pot.

Please note, the cook time (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours for the chicken + 1 additional hour for the rice and vegetables) listed can vary depending upon your slow cooker. Mine consistently finishes in this time, but others have reported needing longer for the rice. Use your best judgement depending upon your slow cooker model. If it is your first time making the recipe, you may want to build in extra “buffer time” just in case your slow cooker doesn’t get as hot as mine and others who see similar cook times.Now, cover your slow cooker, and cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or on low for 4 to 5 hours. Use an instant read thermometer to check when your chicken reaches 165 degrees F. As soon as your chicken is done, place it on a covered plate to keep warm. Then, check your vegetables to see if they are tender. If not, stir them, and place the cover back on your slow cooker. Continue cooking until they are tender and pierce easily with a fork (up to 1 additional hour on high or 2 additional hours on low). (Source: www.wellplated.com)

COKER

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Cover the slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or low for 4 to 5 hours. (The total amount of time you need will vary based upon your slow cooker model and the size of your chicken breasts. If your slow cooker runs hot—mine often does—check early to avoid drying out the meat). The chicken is done when it reaches 165 degrees F at the center with an instant read thermometer. The moment the chicken is done cooking, remove it to a plate, and cover to keep warm. Test the vegetables to see if they are tender. If they are not yet tender, give them a stir, recover the slow cooker, then continue cooking until they are tender and pierce easily with a fork, up to 1 additional hour on high or 2 hours on low. When ready to serve, return the chicken to the slow cooker. Sprinkle the Parmesan and parsley over the top. Enjoy warm.

I usually start the chicken stock after dinner by filling the slow cooker to the top with water and then adding whatever I have on hand … bay leaf, carrot, celery, onion, parsley, and thyme. Even if I’m missing parsley or celery I still make it anyway, and it always turns out just fine. I keep it on low all night and then in the morning, I strain it into wide-mouth jars without shoulders to store in the freezer (the pictured jars have shoulders and are not labeled as freezer-safe!). It works great and couldn’t be easier. Yes you can! The first step is to choose your chicken, I like to use organic whenever possible. You want to make sure that your chicken will fit inside your crock pot, I use my larger oval crock pot for this task which is big enough to accommodate almost any sized chicken. If you’re using a smaller round slow cooker, opt for a smaller bird. It typically takes 3-4 hours to cook a chicken on high heat in the slow cooker, and 8 hours to cook on low heat. As mentioned above, if you plan to cook your chicken on the lower heat setting, be sure to let it cook at high for one hour before you switch to low to make sure the chicken is at the correct temperature for food safety purposes. (Source: www.dinneratthezoo.com)

 

 

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