Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm in Love

It's official.  I took my slow cooker on its maiden voyage today, and I am truly, madly, deeply, head-over-heels in love and I want to shout it from the rooftops.  Some pieces of kitchen equipment get a lot of hype and then don't live up to it, but I already can tell that this one is going to be a total game changer around here, especially once I make my return to office-based work.  The prep and clean-up on the dish I made today were almost criminally easy.  There is truly no excuse to dial for take out with this puppy around.

Not knowing a whole lot about slow-cooking in general, I perused the cookbook options and then added the Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast:Slow Cooker Cookbook to my collection this weekend.  The book is inexpensive, and I love how it is organized into three sections: 15 minutes of hands-on prep, 30 minutes of hands-on prep, and "Make More to Store".  These options are so working family friendly, and each recipe sounded more delicious than the last (note: this is not the right cookbook choice for vegetarians... there are some great-sounding veggie recipes included, but many, many more meat options).  I can definitely handle such a short prep time in the morning, when I tend to have the most energy, and there is something about having a clean kitchen and dinner essentially ready all before noon that makes my Type-A self want to dance a jig.  This is truly glorious.
This is how tidy my kitchen was just moments after prepping this beautiful feast.  Gleaming slow cooker sits beside the stove bubbling away.  Ahhh....

So, for my first recipe, I chose a 30-minute prep option: Cuban Chicken.  You break down a whole chicken into 8 pieces, brown it, make a simple pan sauce of garlic and fresh lime and orange juices, cover the whole thing in onions, and walk away.  And if you don't have a husband who enjoys butchering things, as I do, you can have your butcher break down the chicken for you, or just buy chicken pieces instead.  Five hours later, you have intensely flavored chicken, falling off the bone, and all you have on your hands for clean-up is the inner pot of the slow cooker and your dinner plates.  Brilliant. 
I mean, come on.  
You're going to see a lot more slow cooking action around here, so much so that I've added a new tag for my posts under "slow cooker".  Every busy person needs one of these suckers, I'm convinced.  If you have a birthday, anniversary or wedding registry in your future, I can't recommend adding this All-Clad model highly enough.  I'm loving how you can use the aluminum insert right on the stove for searing meat and have one less pot to clean.  Expect more slow cooking posts soon.  In the meantime, I'm off for seconds.

Slow Cooker Cuban Chicken
from the Willams Sonoma Food Made Fast:Slow Cooker Cookbook
Whole Chicken (about 4 pounds)
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup lime juice about 5 limes
1 fresh bay leaf
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1) Brown the chicken.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the chicken pieces in batches if necessary, skin side down and cook until golden brown on the bottom about 7 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook second side until lightly browned about 3 minutes. Transfer all browned chicken to slow cooker.
2) Deglaze the pan.
Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon fat from the frying pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until just barely golden brown. Add garlic to the onions and saute for a couple more minutes until the onions are golden and the garlic is fragrant. Pour in orange and lime juices. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom. Pour the contents of the pan over the chicken.
3) Cook the chicken.
Add the bay leaf and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook on high heat setting for 2 1/2 hours or low heat setting for 5 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Season the sauce to taste with salt and generous amount of pepper. Spoon the onions and sauce over the chicken.

It's really that easy.  And that delicious.
I've fallen and I've fallen hard.


  1. Good recipe, I also love my All Clad Slow Cooker! This may be a good one for the hot sauce I got for my birthday!

  2. You guys would love this one, Bridge. It would be a great vehicle for any hot sauce + J was super clingy yesterday and I was able to cook a lot of it while holding him, so it would work with S&S as "sous chefs", if necessary. :)