Monday, June 13, 2011

Basque Chicken (Slow Cooker)

I made this thinking it would be a good alternative to coq au vin and a way to use a small organic soup chicken that I had in the fridge.

Despite the small size of the chicken, it was too big for all the pieces to fit easily in the slow cooker. Not to worry, I made a light chicken broth with the back, neck, and other bits that wouldn't fit.

The result was tasty but next time I will make some changes:
  • Use only chicken legs. This was a soup chicken, and with the long cooking it still remained fairly tough and stringy. And chicken breast always dries out.
  • Remove the skin from the chicken after browning and before adding it to the pot. I always remove the skin before eating anyway and wonder how much extra flavour it imparts.
Basque Chicken

4 chicken pieces (breast and legs), bone-in with skin
1 yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, yellow and red, cut into large pieces
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon peanut oil
1/2 cup  wine (red or white)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teasoon thyme
1  bay leaf
300 grams mushrooms, halved, whole, or in thick slices, depending on the their size
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 green onion, green and white parts, sliced
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and peanut oil in a large heavy frying pan over a medium-high flame.
  2. Brown the chicken, about 7 minutes per side, frying in batches to avoid overcrowding. Put the chicken pieces in the slow cooker.
  3. Now turn the heat down to medium and sauté the onion and garlic for a minute or so. Deglaze with the wine, stir in the tomato paste, then add it all to the slow cooker. Add the herbs and bell pepper pieces. 
  4. Cook on high for 6 hours.
  5. About 15 minutes before serving, heat the butter and oil in a large heavy frying pan, until the foam of the butter subsides.
  6. Add the mushrooms and stir and shake to get all of them  covered with the fat. All the fat will be absorbed, but as the mushrooms cook, they will release it again and start to brown.
  7. While the mushrooms are browning, transfer the chicken to a serving dish., then add the browned mushrooms and garnish with green onions.
  8. Serve over potatoes or noodles.

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