Crock pot balsamic chicken

>> Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This is a food post. If you are not hungry now, you will be. Don't hold it against me if you keep reading.

I needed something to make for supper. Yesterday I found chicken breasts in the freezer and brought them out but they didn't thaw in time to do anything useful with. So today I decided I'd crock pot em. But how? And with what flavors? We're leaving town for a couple of weeks, and have been wearing our pantry and fridge pretty thin, since we don't want to restock before we leave. After some Googling, I came across this stove top recipe, which seemed a good a place to start as any:
http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1739,154179-231197,00.html

First I opened the chicken package. Okay, when it says "Chicken breasts" with no quantity, but it's an armful for me, I figure 4 small or medium, like the size you get in a bag from Tysons. What I got were 2 enormous chicken breast fillets, half an inch thick, and the two didn't fit side by side in the 6 qt. crock. Fit in as best I could, just the chicken fills 1/2 the pot. Lanse and I could make a meal with leftovers from just one, but it's chicken... and we're leaving town.... and it's been thawed.... so it's gotta be cooked. It all went in.

As mentioned before, this is not a crock pot recipe. It takes the chef through the process of breading and frying the chicken. I prefer baked over fried, generally better for you anyway, so I just ignored the flour and oil and whatever else they had related to frying the chicken. Into the pot with the chicken I put a can of mushrooms (drained), and then the herbs and spices, and the ingredients for the sauce (chicken stock and balsamic vinegar). We get concerned about acidity levels around here, so I only put in half the balsamic, which smells like plenty. I also had a problem because it says to put in a bay leaf and then remove it later, but all I had was a jar of crushed up bay leaves. So I looked up the equivalences and threw it in there. I expect that will change the flavor from the original recipe. The other conversion I had to do was that I didn't have any fresh garlic, only garlic salt. So I figured out those numbers and made the change. There's a pretty good chance this'll be too salty, between the garlic salt, chicken stock, and the fact that habit found me with the kosher salt & peppering that I automatically do to all my meats. But if that's the case, we can forgo the sauce and just eat the chicken.

Now, here's where it got interesting. Crock pot rules are typically that "Low" = 6-7 hours, and "High" = 3-4 hours, so you can time it to eat when you want. I got everything in at 12:30, and Lanse has to be somewhere at 5:30, so I figured that High was the safest bet. So I set it on there, and let it go. Right around 2:00 I thought, "Ya know, this is chicken, and I got this new spiffy probe thermometer..." So I stuck it in the biggest chicken piece and set it for 161. (The guide on the back said Poultry is safe at 165 and there's always carryover to plan for.)

The timer went off 20 minutes ago. That'd be 2:40. Just a wee bit early.

So... I basted the tops to keep them moist, turned it down to Low, and here's praying it doesn't all dry out by the time dinner comes 'round. I gotta tell you all though, it's times like these when I pray for the invention of Smell-o-Vision. I could just sit and breathe this in all day long, and I'd love to be able to share it!

My final step will be to pour the juices into a pan and thicken it with a little corn starch for a good sauce. There was a similar step in the original recipe which relied on the flour from frying the chicken, so that's an acceptable replacement and goes more quickly than making a roux. I'm also leaving out the butter because the chicken fat will have contributed quite enough, thanks.

My final final step will be to make some noodles and a veggie to go with it.

I just finished lunch, but in writing this post I'm really hungry again! I guess I've only myself to blame...

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About This Blog

Life is about changes; transitions from one place to another, from one purpose to another, from one being to another. They say that the person you are today is a completely different person from who you were ten years ago and who you'll be ten years from now. So far, at the age of 33, I've had four major transitions in my life which redefined who I am. Two years into the results of the most recent transition I am again - still - exploring how God is shaping me. Over the next few months I hope to review my past and set goals for the future, and embrace the next adventure of rediscovering me.
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