I do this all the time.
I come up with some concoction off-the cuff and riff on it, trying to make it simpler, and either make a dish so inedible that I never want to try it again or end up eating it for so long that the monotony kills my interest in it and I have to take a rest from it.
I’m doing this now with the chicken Cacciatore recipe I posted the other day. As discussed in my previous post, I had made a good recipe with chicken thighs and pasta sauce twice and all of it got eaten. I decided to tempt fate (and my tolerance for eating the same thing over and over) by making up another batch – but my desire for fewer steps and my joy of futzing around with things made me think that this might be a good candidate for the crock pot / slow cooker.
If you are not in a rush, and don’t mind a stew-like consistency, a crock pot can be an easy way to get a potfull of yummy goodness without much fuss. Here’s what I used:
- 10 chicken thighs with bone and skin ($6.50 at Whole Foods)
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 bag Trader Joe’s Frozen chopped artichoke hearts
- 1/2 dozen already peeled garlic cloves, whole
- 1 Jar of Whole Foods 365 Organic Mushroom Marinara Sauce ($2.25)
- cayenne pepper
- fresh shredded romano cheese
Here’s what I did:
- Bring large oval crock pot up from basement. Have wife comment that she never thought I would use it again.
- Coat bottom of crock pot with artichoke hearts and onion
- Place chicken on top
- Cover with pasta sauce
- Jack-ass the chicken around a bit to be sure some of the pasta sauce gets into the onion and artichokes (note to self – next time throw half the jar in before putting in the chicken).
- Sprinkle top with cayenne pepper, oregano, salt, garlic cloves
- Set on high for 5 hours
- Eat some junk because your chicken won’t be done until after you go to bed
The result is a chicken Cacciatore ‘stew’ of sorts. As crockpotters know, a crock pot is an awesome way to make meat (especially cheap cuts) taste awesome and tender. Visually, it looks like a chicken soup with a pasts sauce color (or chicken glop, or horrific chicken-related car accident to the unappreciative).
I am immune to those looks of half-curiosity and half-fear as family and coworkers ask: What is that?!?
If I was eating a Twinkie, it would be more socially acceptable – and perhaps there would be a ‘as you now, I have then’ look of shared understanding, but in these things, we low carbers can feel very alone.
As there is a lot of fat in the chicken and I don’t remove the skin, the result is one hell of a greasy pot of stewed Italian chicken, but as I actively seek out fat, this is a good thing – I leave it in. The only bad aspect of the dish (and a low carb diet in general) is that you have a greater opportunity to stain good clothes with grease stains that never come out.
This is one of the hidden costs of a low carb lifestyle – especially if you eat like me.
In the morning, the meat had fallen off the bones so I fished the bones out and packed 2 cups of the stuff, which was quite thick with chicken, onions and artichokes. I topped it with the fresh grated Romano cheese.
I brought this to work but chickened out (no pun intended) with eating where someone could see me. I found a secluded spot to eat it.
It was awesome. The slow cooking had made the meat exceptionally tender, and even the gristle that you usually find in some bits seemingly dissolved. It was great with the cheese and was quite filling. This cooking method also blunted the somewhat intense flavor that you get from chicken thighs, which tends to turn off people more accustomed to the mild (bland) flavor of chicken breast.
This yielded 6 2-cup containers, of which a few could be put in the freezer.
For those in Atkins induction – I was in ketosis before I ate this, as well as the next morning, so there seems to be no problem in this department, though like the previous recipe – I didn’t do the tally.