Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

So, let’s discuss slow cookers. Everyone knows slow cookers are wonderful. You can use them to make extremely simple or gourmet dishes. My first solo experience with a slow cooker was my freshman year in college. I would make sweet potatoes in the slow cooker all of the time. Pretty much that’s all I ate ever. I realize this sounds peculiar, but have you ever made a sweet potato in a slow cooker. It is really delicious.

Oftentimes, I think people associate slow cookers with casseroles and soups. It’s true, those are great ways to use them, but you can use them for a whole lot more. And that’s what I wanted to showcase in this recipe. But first, let me share some slow cooker tips.

The flavor is in the brown
Do yourself a flavor (I hate that joke but I couldn’t resist) and spend 4 minutes of your day browning your meat before putting it in the slow cooker. You’ll be rewarded with an incredible depth of flavor in the finished dish.

Don’t peek!
Keep that lid closed! I know it’s tempting to get a sneak peek and a quick whiff, but the heat will escape from the inside and it will take a while for the temperature inside the slow cooker to return to what it was.

Don’t overfill it
Slow cooking works when the heat can properly circulate inside the slow cooker. If it’s too crowded, your ingredients will cook unevenly.

Put your vegetables on the bottom
Vegetables require more time to cook than meat, so placing them at the bottom will ensure they cook quicker.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables
  • 6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces baby carrots
  • 1 sweet onion, quartered
  • 16 ounces red potatoes, quartered
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 head broccoli

  1. Brown chicken thighs on stove 2 to 3 minutes per side, set aside
  2. Drizzle a little olive oil in your 5-6 quart slow cooker and spread garlic on bottom
  3. Add layers of the onion, carrots, red potatoes, and chicken thighs
  4. Sprinkle rosemary and thyme on top
  5. In small bowl, combine brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and red pepper flakes and pour on top of chicken thighs
  6. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours
  7. Add broccoli on top of chicken thighs, and cook for another hour
  8. Garnish with more fresh herbs and slivers of almonds if desired

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