Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chicken & Apple Pot

Last week was unseasonably cold in Boston –- though the tides have turned and I’m currently writing this from my sweltering 80+ degree apartment. But last week was a different story, I needed a good old warm-me-upper so I decided to make a soup/stew recipe out of my slow cooker cookbook. The choice: Chicken & Apple Pot.

As you may have heard me mention before, I don’t like cooking with chicken, and really I can’t even remember the last time I did cook with chicken. I think I might have been about nine years ago when I made homemade BBQ chicken wings and my kitten jumped on the door of the hot oven. True story. (No kittens were harmed in the cooking of the chicken wings -- he turned out to be fine.)

Anyway, I figured this recipe would be different from other chicken recipes because: a) slow cooking chicken will make it very moist and tender and b.) I don’t have to fear under-cooking as the chicken simmers in the slow cooker for nearly 8 hours. Sudden realization when it comes to chicken: chicken is cheap! I mean, really cheap! I got 5 pretty big drumsticks (the perfect amount for 2 people) at Whole Foods for a whopping $3. I think I may be welcoming chicken back into my kitchen.

This recipe was quite easy to make and tasted very good. The chicken literally fell right off the bone and caramelized apples as a garnish were very delicious. I was told however that next time I might want to think about swapping out some of the apples in favor of some potatoes –- a suggestion that will be duly noted. 

PS: It also went wonderfully with Harpoon Summer Beer –- I’m so glad summer beer is back in season!

Overall score : 7 out of 10
Recipe (Compliments of Slow Cooking by Linda Doesser)

Ingredients –
1 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken portions, about 6 oz each (I used 5 big drumsticks for 2 people)
1 onion
2 celery stalks
1 ½ tbsp flour
1 ¼ cup apple juice
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 cooking apple cut up
2 bay leaves
1-2 tsp honey
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into chunks

Garnish –
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 apple sliced and cored
2 tbsp raw brown sugar

Directions –
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet. Add the chicken and cook over medium-high heat, turning frequently for 10 minutes, until golden brown all over. Transfer chicken to a slow cooker.
  2. Add the onion and celery to the skillet and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, then remove the skillet from the heat. Gradually stir in the apple juice and stock, then return the skillet to the heat, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the cooking apple, bay leaves, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the mixture over the chicken, cook and cover on low for 6 ½ hours, until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear when the thickest part is pierced with the point of a sharp knife. Stir in the yellow bell pepper, re-cover, and cook on high for 45 minutes.
  4. Shortly before you are ready to serve, preheat the broiler. Brush one side of the apple slices with half the melted butter and sprinkle them with sugar. Broil for 2-3 minutes, until the sugar has caramelized. Turn the slices over with tongs, brush with the remaining butter, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Broil for a further 2 minutes. Serve the stew garnished with the caramelized apple slices.

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