Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 and Slow Cooking Heaven

Thanksgiving this year was a quiet affair; Bill and Amanda stayed in California with James in preparation for his first birthday on Sunday (you may recall he was born on Thanksgiving Day last year), and my step-sister and her husband also decided to celebrate at home. That meant it was just four of us on Thankgiving Day--me, Dad, Linda (stepmom), and my Aunt Kim. AND since everyone but me was leaving town the day after Thanksgiving...I was getting all the leftovers!

But what to do with 3 pounds of turkey? My family doesn't do the whole bird; we like the white meat best so we always just do a turkey breast. But the smallest breast I could find was 6.5 pounds which meant there was a lot that went home with me.

Cook's Country to the rescue! Don't know what I'm talking about? It's from the same people who do the America's Test Kitchen tv show on PBS and they have the BEST recipes I have ever made. Better than Martha Stewart, better than any of your Food Networks chefs, just great classic cooking. They also do equipment reviews, teach the basics of techniques, and getting their once every two months magazine is a big highlight for me. Seriously. Love it.

Their most recent issue had what sounded like a great slow cooker chicken and dumpling recipe. So I decided to sub in the turkey for the chicken--which meant I got to skip the step where you pre-brown and season the chicken. Since the turkey was also already cooked, I let the slow cooker go for the minimum cooking time and it ended up really tender, but not dry. I also left out the dumplings, since I had a roll of Pilsbury's biscuits to use up.

The finished product!

Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try! Some other changes I made--I used only one onion and left our the peas. Because, ew.


--3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
--salt and pepper
--3 tablespoons vegetable oil
--2 onion chopped (I used one medium onion)
--2 celery ribs, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
--2 carrots, peeled, quartered and cut into 1/4 inch pieces (I used chopped baby carrots)
--4 garlic cloves, minced
--1 tablespoon tomato paste
--2 bay leaves
--1 teaspoon dry thyme
--1/4 cup all purpose flour
--1/2 cup dry white wine
--4 cups low sodium chicken broth
--1 cup frozen peas 


--1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
--1 tablespoon baking powder
--1 teaspoon salt
--1 cup whole milk
--4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1) Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of chicken all over, 5-8 minutes, transfer to slow cooker. Repeat with 1 tablespoon oil and remaining chicken. 
(since I used turkey leftovers, I just dumped them frozen into the slow cooker--easy)

2) Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery, and carrots and cook until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, bay leaves, and thyme and cook until fragrant and tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. 

3) Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in wine, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Whisk in 1 cup broth and bring to a simmer, transfer to slow cooker. Stir in remaining 3 cups of broth. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low. Stir in peas. (I cooked mine for just about 4 hours on low, then reduced to hear to warm for another hour before serving).
4) For dumplings: whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Stir in milk and melted butter until just incorporated. Using greased 1/4 cup measure drop 8 dumplings around perimeter of stew. Cover and cook until dumplings have doubled in size, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve.

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