I love my slow cooker! It has revolutionised meal times, particularly (and unexpectedly) at weekends.
You can have dinner prepared first thing in the morning, go play all day and know you will be well fed in the evening. No fuss….. just good, healthy sustenance.
I knew it would be a boon on weekdays…….. although I confess, I am not great first thing in the morning and managing to get myself up at the crack of dawn and before I have to leave the house for work, to make a meal for when I get in is not something I have actually achieved more than twice. The weekday benefit comes from having a sizeable Crock Pot big enough to feed a family of 6 to 8, which means if we fill it, we have food for another couple of dinners at least, especially if we factor in a couple of baked potatoes to make it go further…..
We have also discovered how fab it is when you have guests. Last weekend, we had the pleasure of having people stay with us……. The Crock Pot was up and running before they arrived in preparation for tea…….. How impressed were they when we didn’t have to interrupt our time with them to prepare a meal from scratch…… Sausage & Bean Casserole (effectively the filling from this pie with a little extra liquid), served with rice and all ready to feed 7 hungry mouths!
The Chicken Casserole recipe I have made here is another very tasty addition to my growing slow-cook repertoire. The moist meat and skin of the thighs has been rubbed with honey, paprika and seasoning and lightly fried to seal before it hits the pot, giving it a rich, flavoursome start to the process. Enhanced by several hours of cooking (carefully keeping the skin just above the surface of the casserole liquid), it falls away from the bone and melts in the mouth.
The meat is accompanied by plenty of slow cooked veg….. onions, baby carrots, parsnips and mushrooms, most of which is locally grown and sourced. It is additionally flavoured with some smoky, meaty bacon, and plenty of fresh oregano and thyme…… Simple, tasty and good for you….
For those of us who need to avoid gluten, be extra careful to make sure your stock contains no hidden nasties…… Stock cubes can be risky little things, as they often hide a hidden dose of wheat flour, ready to sneak up and bite you! I usually use either Knorr or Kallo brands as they are certified gluten free.
I am linking my casserole with the following challenges this month :
The Slow Cooked Challenge with Farmersgirl Kitchen – anything goes this month.
Slow-Cooked Chicken Casserole
- Rub the honey, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of paprika into the chicken skin.
- Heat the oil to medium-high in the casserole for the slow cooker if it can be used on the hob (or in a large skillet if it can’t) and gently seal and brown the outside of the seasoned chicken (should take about 5 to 8 minutes), turning frequently. Set aside.
- Using the same pan, sauté the bacon and onions for about 5 minutes until softening.
- Add the carrots, parsnip, and mushrooms and sauté for a further 5 to 10 minutes to brown slightly.
- Add the chopped herbs and stir through.
- If you are using a pan separate from the slow cooker, transfer the vegetable-bacon mix to the slow cooker at this point.
- Pour the stock over the vegetables and lay the chicken on the top, skin side up.
- Place some sprigs of fresh thyme across the surface and slow cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions for about 3 hours (high) or 6 hours (low).
- Enjoy with potatoes or rice.