Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Slow cooking update

So we just ate the meal I mentioned earlier . Although I had it cooking for 8 hours the potato's were still firm and not soft like I like them, but passable. Again I found the recipe kind of bland, I think I'd probably quadruple the amount of garlic and paprika next time, and this time it was saved by a lot of ground black pepper.

Still the recipe itself was good, the chicken and leeks were cooked perfectly. I added milk to the leek soup mix instead of just water, and I may try some light cream next time and some white wine.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Crockpot cooking

I was rather disappointed with my cooking efforts last weekend. I made a stew in the slow cooker following this recipe:

Copied from that site in case it moves:

Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 6 to 8 hours (LOW) or 3 to 4 hours (HIGH)
Yield: 6 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch slices
1 can (28 ounces) whole stewed tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup nonfat, low-sodium chicken broth
1⁄4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Combine the chicken, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, salt, paprika, celery seeds, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and broth in the 4 1⁄2-quart CROCK-POT® slow cooker.

Cover; cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Since we didn't have a sweet potato I used some salad potatoes instead; the sweet potato seemed to be missed by the rest of the ingredients. Although it had potential it was a bit too watery (probably too much water), and a bit lacking in flavour. Also despite being on for 8 hours the potato's were not quite as soft as I'd have liked.

Although my wife Corbey said she liked it, and it was good enough for left overs the next day, Jamie wasn't keen, and I thought it was about a 6/10.

The only thing I improved upon from my earlier attempt at slow cooker stew was that I put the chicken at the top and the potatoes at the bottom. Carrots and tomatoes were in the middle. My instinct was to stir the whole concoction to get the flavours nicely mixed up, but that stopped the potatoes cooking properly, as they need to be in the hottest part of the pot at the bottom.

Anyway, I love stew and we have some leeks that need using so I'm trying this one tomorrow:


2 1/2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, can use any combo of boneless pieces
5 medium white potatoes, cut into small chunks
2 large coarsely chopped leeks, white and light green parts, washed well
1 (1 7/8 ounce) envelope leek soup mix
1 cup water
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
salt, if needed to taste
Change Measurements: US | Metric
Directions:Prep Time: 10 minsTotal Time: 6 1/4 hrs
1place potatoes in slow cooker. Arrange chicken pieces on top of potato slices. Place leeks on top of chicken pieces.2In small bowl, whisk together leek soup mix, water, garlic, paprika and pepper until well-combined. Pour over top of everything in the crock pot.3Cover and cook on Low 5 to 6 hours or until chicken is no longer pink.4Add salt, if needed, to taste.

This time I've ensured we follow the recipe exactly, I went out and bought some white potato's and some leek soup mix, so I have my fingers crossed for something more in the 8/10 range.