Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crock Pot Wednesday: Mediterranean Chicken

Wednesdays are serious crunch days around GreenWood, usually 18 hours at least so I like to get dinner started around 9am in the trusty crock pot.  Today's photo has the early morning Sun shining through the kitchen window; because the window is incredibly dirty it gives a beautiful, soft illumination to the entire kitchen. I read once that professional photographers used to smear petroleum jelly on their lenses to get a similar effect, so my reluctance to actually clean the windows has a bit of artistic pique involved... but that's another story if not another blog entirely.  The carrots and celery are a couple of the ingredients for today's dish, sans the rose petals. Of course you can throw them in, as you prefer, to give the house a hint of rose aroma while it's cooking. 

Busy is the word for Wednesday, especially since we've started the rehab effort on the house and shop in earnest.  Add to that the normal schedule of rising at 5:50am to get kids ready for school, doing the regular day's chores and finishing rehearsal at the studio around 11pm and I have almost no time to bathe, let alone cook in my accustomed manner. Enter the crock pot.  I used to think the crock pot was for unimaginative people who had no desire to eat well or overworked career-moms who just needed to have something ready by the time she and hubby got home from work... needless to say my perception's changed over the years. Now I make all sorts of dishes with the slow cooker, from traditonal pot roast to more experiemental stuff like miso apple beef and cinnamon mole. I buy whole chicken cut-up as well as the boneless breasts and thighs because I'm cheap, and I like to keep bone-in chicken on hand for soups or stocks.

This dish is so easy to fix, all you need to do is add some rice or a salad and you'll have a hot and very good meal at the end of the day.

Mister C's Mediterranean Slow Cook Chicken

One whole chicken, cut-up
Four carrots, sliced or chopped into 1" sections
Four stalks celery, cut into 1" sections
4 tbsp Mediterranean Seasoning (or, 1 tsp of the following: Sea Salt, Dried Red Pepper, Dried Garlic, Dried Onion, Grated Lemon Peel, Parsley)
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Cracked Pepper

No one wants to look at raw chicken, so here's a photo of Bossa Nova Salad ingredients

Place the carrots and celery in the bottom of the crock pot, sprinkle with the sea salt and pepper.  Then arrange the pieces of chicken so the seasoning mix will cover each piece.  Sprinkle the seasoning mix over the chicken and cook for 8-10 hours.  I leave the skin on the chicken to flavor the vegetables, but you can just as easily remove it to keep those fat calories down.  The crockpot will cook the chicken to fall-off-the-bone tenderness and the vegetables should be soft and richly-seasoned.  Serve with rice or fresh bread and salad. 

Men, this bit of advice is for you: Learn how to use a crock pot.  It'll open up new possibilities in the realm of "set and forget" cooking, it just takes a bit of forethought so you don't wind up with crock pot puree.  We'll revisit the slow-cooker method from time to time, because sometimes there's not enough time to prepare dinner.