Crock-Pot African Chicken

My friend Nadine very generously gave me a Crock-Pot for my birthday, and while I’ve never really lusted after one (I didn’t know they were so sleek and modern now; I remember too well my Mom’s enormous brown crockery Crock-Pot that weighed about 30 pounds and sat unused in the cabinet over the stove), I’m getting excited about the possibility of Crock-Pot apple butter, or pumpkin butter, maybe even ketchup before tomatoes disappear for the season.

But as a test run, I decided to try out a simple chicken stew that I found in the little Crock-Pot cookbook that came with my new toy.  I stayed pretty true to the original recipe at the start, wanting to give it a chance, but after a couple hours of cooking, it looked and smelled extremely bland and very white. So, tumeric and cayenne and chile flakes to the rescue!  After another couple of hours of cooking, it actually turned out fairly well: the flavor was good and the sauce that I feared would never reduce actually reduced a little bit too much (I added a touch more lime juice at the end). Some of the chicken pieces were moist, juicy and falling apart tender, while some seemed very dry and overcooked: not sure if that means I cooked it too long, or not enough?  Any Crock-Pot wisdom out there for a neophyte? At any rate, this chicken dish disappeared pretty quickly and I’m excited about all the possibilities for my new Crock-Pot.  All of you slow cooker mavens: have a killer Crock-Pot recipe?  Please share your favorites in comments below!

Adapted from African Style Turkey on Couscous in the little cookbook that came with my new Crock-Pot

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Crock-Pot African Chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 2-inch dice
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp chile flakes
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • rice, couscous or other grain for serving
  • sliced red bell pepper for garnish

METHODS

  1. Combine all ingredients (except rice and bell pepper) in the bowl of your Crock-Pot or slow cooker. Mix well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 3 – 4 hours.  Liquid will thicken to a sauce and chicken will be very tender and begin to shred when done.
  2. Serve over rice (or other grain), garnished with red bell pepper or other bright, crunchy vegetable.

Serves 4.

OPTIONS

  1. As noted above, the original recipe was, IMO, bland and awfully white. I added lots of tumeric and cayenne and extra garlic, ginger and chile flakes.
  2. I’m thinking about a one-pot dish that is less meat intensive: maybe add chickpeas, and lots more vegetables; carrots, celery, bell pepper, a jalapeno or two, maybe even some winter squash.

STORE

Cooked chicken will last up to 5 days refrigerated.

SEASON

Year round.

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4 comments

  1. I tend to not use recipes when I use the crock pot, or I adapt a chicken stew or soup recipe by cooking a stewing chicken in the crock pot and then when I get home the base is done – chicken cooked and broth made – then I add in other stuff.

    Another favorite thing is to buy a whole chicken and put it on top of any root vegetables I have/as many as will fit, then I sprinkle on some herbs and spices and cook it all day.

  2. I think you probably needed more liquid, which was why your chicken was dry in parts – the pieces that were submerged in sauce would have been the ones that were fine. Also, chicken probably doesn’t need so long (3-4 hours over high heat seems insane to me) to cook, even in a crockpot. You could always use a cut of meat that retains moisture better (chicken breasts are notorious in their ability to become dry) or just one that takes longer to cook. I’m completely jealous that you have a crockpot, too… my mother had a gorgeous one from the 70s, a mustardy-brown colour and much used… best meals ever.

  3. Kelly

    I’m guessing the dry chicken thing is from the use of boneless, skinless. I had completely submerged chicken breasts in one of my first experiments, and they were dry and disgusting after being cooked too long. I actually almost never cook chicken in the crockpot because picking out the bones frustrates me, but boneless skinless doesn’t seem to work. I have used it for a chicken cacciatore once, but it’s a lot of work!

    I tend to use mine for chili primarily, and beef stew secondarily. We do steak chili, ground beef chili, turkey chili – it’s a monthly or bi-monthly meal around here, so I don’t mean to imply it’s never used. I also use it to keep mashed potatoes warm at the holidays (GENIUS trick – you can even make them two hours ahead of dinner and put them on WARM).

    I am determined to find more uses for mine too, so will keep an eye on what you’re making!

  4. Nancy

    Here’s my pearl of wisdom… never, ever, ever, lift the lid to sniff it or peek under the condensation. It immediately reduces the temperature and can screw up your timing. I use my crock pot for pot roast because the veggies cook in the juices of the meat and come out ab fab!

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