Thursday, February 17, 2011

2011 Cookbook challenge: Crockpot Coq Au Vin

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cookingis a great slow cooking cookbook. It evolved from Stephanie O'Dea's blog where she challenged herself to A Year of Slow Cooking- using her slow cooker every day to make healthy gluten free meals for her family. I really like this cookbook. The layout is straight forward and easy to read. She uses the slow cooker to make a lot of unconventional items such as desserts or drinks. This is a huge help when preparing a lot of dishes. Having the slow cooker, stove, oven and toaster oven all cranking at the same time definitely increases the chance that we will have everything ready to serve at the same time. She also gives a "verdict" on many of the recipes.

The recipe we tested as her Coq Au Vin recipe. The only modification was that we used dried thyme instead of fresh thyme.

Coq Au Vin

--6 to 8 frozen chicken thighs

--6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon (I used turkey, but you could use PORK)

--8 oz sliced baby portabella mushrooms (they are right next to the regular mushrooms)

--1 cup baby carrots

--1 chopped yellow onion

--3 cloves chopped or minced garlic

--1/2 t black pepper

--1/2 t kosher salt

--1/2 cup chicken broth

--1 1/2 cup cheap red wine (you can use non-alcoholic wine, if you wish)

--2 large fresh thyme sprigs (I really think the fresh thyme is the key, here. Go steal some from your neighbors garden.)

The Directions.

Cook your bacon. I used turkey bacon, and baked it on a broiler pan. Dump the frozen chicken into your crockpot and start layering in the rest of the ingredients. This is really a no-fuss (albeit amazingly gourmetish) preparation. Just throw it all in.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. You could cook it on high for 4, but it won't taste as good. The flavors meld so nicely when cooked low and slow.

We served it over pasta. We both really enjoyed this recipe. We felt it needed a little more salt added at the end of finish it. The use of fresh thyme matters. It would have given the dish that subtle, but important extra kick of flavor so make the trip to the grocery store.  Next time, we will lightly sautee the mushrooms in the bacon fat. The mushrooms released a lot of water during the cooking that diluted some of the flavors.

Because chicken thighs are so cheap and this recipe is so easy, I can see this becoming a staple in our week work menu.

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