LPT: Slow Cookers
A good friend of mine texted me this morning that he’d tried to slow cook some chicken and might need some LPT’s from yours truly. In case you didn’t know (I didn’t until about 30 minutes ago), LPT stands for Life Pro Tip; and apparently I’m qualified to dole them out when it comes to slow cooking.
I’ve owned a slow cooker for maybe 2 months now and use it on a weekly basis, whether that makes me an expert a not is up for debate. My first recipe actually came from PaleOMG which I realize I mention ridiculously frequently. I adapted her recipe for Coffee Ancho Short Ribs and threw in a whole chicken, and about 8 drumsticks. It turned out super delicious – the chicken was falling off the bones and the cooked down onions were fantastic. Here’s how it turned out.
An important tip for cooking whole chickens, they usually come with giblets inside, if you don’t remove them they add a lot of flavor to the broth/sauce, but also leave some pretty weird bones and stuff inside your chicken. I have yet to remove the giblets before cooking, maybe I’ll try that next time.
My second favorite tip for slow cooking tip, especially if you’re cooking meats with bones in; never throw out the broth. Whatever liquids you’ve cooked in have all the flavor and minerals of the bones and meat and veggies and yeah you’re gonna want that. I usually run it through a mesh colander into some tupperware. It makes a great base for cooking things with less flavor (read, chicken breasts when I need something quick and flavorful).
While paleOMG publishes some amazing recipes, I understand you can’t always plan that far ahead, and most people don’t keep coffee concentrate, dried ancho’s, and even honey around. So I’ve made a habit of making slow cooker meals with things I always have. This list usually includes, coconut water, coconut milk, curry pastes, sriracha, onions, garlic, and chicken thighs. So here’s my version of a recipe. Throw an entire sliced white/yellow onion in the bottom of the pot, pour in half your liquids, some sriracha to taste, and any seasonings you’d like (for me that’s usually some sea salt, black peppercorns, and red chili flake). Then put in your chicken thighs, I have a pretty large slow cooker so for me that’s somewhere between 12 and 16 thighs or 15-20 breasts (they pile in a bit neater). Then add the other half of your liquids to cover the chicken. I like to set mine at low for 8-10 hours, I start it after dinner, and wake up to some lovely treats. The other option would be to get up and start it before work, and come home and it’ll be ready for dinner.
Happy slow cooking!