Winter Nesting with a Little Slow Cooking

I’m an OK cook. I follow recipes well and I can do basic stuff. I’m not an intuitive cook. My brother can do that. He can be very creative, and successful, when cooking. I’ve made some really awful things trying to do that. But I don’t usually screw up slow cooking. This has been a busy couple of weeks with my schedule completely off so I’m relying on my slow cooker for evening meals and lunches during the week. I save a lot of time and money by buying some kind of meat on sale and throwing it in the freezer for those days I know I’ll need to slow cook something. Yesterday being one of those days, I thought I’d grab the recipe since it is delicious and you probably have a lot of the ingredients sitting around. Cooking with no grocery shopping is a win-win in my opinion! This is a barbecue-ish meal. You’ll need:

  • some meat – it doesn’t have to be defrosted, chicken, pork, or beef will all be good – I had some freezer burned frozen chicken legs. Chicken is so good with all this flavor. Boneless, skinless chicken breast would probably be best with this because it will shred up beautifully.
  • Worcester sauce
  • ketchup
  • vinegar (apple cider vinegar is probably best but I only had some balsamic)
  • garlic

Optional:

  • honey
  • liquid smoke
  • barbecue seasoning
  • Pam
  • 1 bottle of beer (not pictured)

I spray the sides of the pot with Pam. It sometimes helps with clean up later. It’s no big deal if you don’t have it. You might just need to soak the pot when you wash it. I had two packages of legs I needed to use up so I made a pretty good size batch of sauce. Plus, I really like having sauce with the potatoes or rice or whatever side I’m serving with the dish so I tend to make a little extra. In a separate bowl I combined:

  • 2 cups of ketchup (but I think 1 cup would probably be sufficient if you aren’t a sauce kind of person)
  • 2 Tbs Worcester sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (If you like a lot of tang in your barbecue sauce, use a little more. I only like a little tang)
  • 1 heaping Tbs of the chopped garlic (I think that is like 2 cloves)
  • 1 Tbs barbecue seasoning (Depending on how spicy your seasoning is and how spicy you like your food. Mine is mild seasoning.)
  • 2 Tbs liquid smoke
  • I did not use any honey because I wanted tangy instead of sweet sauce but normally I’d put in 2-3 Tbs

I do err on the side of strong flavoring because it will be diluted during the slow cooking by juices. If your chicken doesn’t have bones and you really want it to fall apart in shreds, add a bottle of beer. The best meat dishes are cooked in booze. Seriously. Cook it on low for 6 to 8 hours. If you have bigger pieces of chicken, you may need to increase that to 10 hours but definitely check it at 8 hours to see if it falls apart when you pick at it with a fork. Mine was done before it hit the 8 hour mark. With chicken legs, I don’t like to go too far after it’s done because it will start falling off the bone and having loose, boney bits in the pot skeeves me. The Worcester sauce is one of my favorite touches. It makes the ketchup taste less ketchupy. You can play with the ingredient amounts to fit your own taste. You might prefer sweeter barbecue sauce so use more honey and less vinegar. Its hard to totally screw this up. I haven’t done it yet and I’ve played fast and loose a lot with the amounts. My white balsamic vinegar was so mild I didn’t have any tang at all so I could have gone heavier with that. A really nice touch is to cover the chicken legs with sliced onion before you pour the sauce over it. Onions cooked like this are so good. I can’t eat raw onions but I do love me some slow cooked onions. They do amazing things to the flavor of the meat. This was delicious. This is the worst food staging photo ever but I wasn’t very hungry when it was done so I didn’t want any rice with it (which would be amazing with the sauce). I just plopped these on a plate for the sake of a picture. I like making the chicken legs because they are easy to divide up into baggies for brown bag lunches at work. I use my slow cookers a lot when I’m cooking big meals, like Thanksgiving, because it eliminates the problem of only having one oven. The last time I hosted Thanksgiving I had the turkey in the oven and three crock pots going on the counter with the slow cooking version of our family’s traditional side dishes (including stuffing).

This site is a great resource for slow cooker recipes. I refer to it a lot.

What’s your favorite slow cooker recipe?

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One Response to Winter Nesting with a Little Slow Cooking

  1. Amy D. says:

    Yum! I am going to have to try this . . . especially as the cold weather kicks in, and all I want to do is snuggle in my blankets, not cook! I have a feeling it is also a lot less mess than the chicken picatta I made tonight 🙂

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