April 7, 2009

One Pot Dinners: Hunter Chicken

I love one-pot dinners: less clean up, and all those flavors slowly mingling together. And the best one-pot dinner of all is made in a crock pot. There's nothing like coming home after a long day, and not only just having dinner ready for you, but the smell knocking you out the minute you walk in the door. It must be what it felt like to be a husband in the 1950s. Now you'll just have to find someone to bring your slippers and a martini.

Crock pot dinners are very nostalgic for me. My mom went back to college when we were kids in the 1970s, and she often started a dinner in that avocado green bowl in the morning. Our favorite was a bean meal that tasted like meat because Hickory Smoke flavoring was one of the ingredients.

My mom gave me a crock pot for Christmas a couple of years ago, and I've been using it a lot since. I wish I had her old one, but it either broke or was tossed years ago. The new one works just as well, even if it isn't as kitchy or nostalgic.

This is one of my favorite new crock pot recipes. It's from Prevention magazine, with just a few alterations. They have a lot of good recipes that are low in calories. This recipe satisfies all my criteria of being easy, healthy, economical, and- most importantly- delicious. The combination of spices is magical. It makes six servings, so my husband and I eat it three times and never get sick of it. Oh, and it's not exactly fast, because it cooks all day, but it is very quick to prepare in the morning- literally only about 10 minutes. Not cookbook 10 minutes, but reality 10 minutes. So without further ado, I bring you...


1 jar (26 oz) marinara sauce
8 oz shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/2" thick (any mushrooms work)
2 large carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise, sliced 1/4" thick
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp chpped fresh thyme leaves or 1/3 tsp dried
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
6 chicken thighs (about 2 lb)
2 small yellow summer squash, sliced into 3/4" rounds

for garnish: thin strips basil, thyme sprigs

1. In 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine sauce, mushrooms, carrots, wine, theyme, fennel, and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat. Place squash on top.
2. Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours or until chicken and vegetables are tender (I've had good luck with 2-3 hours on high and 2-3 hours on low). Serve with sauce, and garnish with basil and thyme.


330 calories per serving.

It's delicious over brown rice, which I unfortunately usually find barely edible. And I confess I've never even tried the fresh spice garnish, so it's not at all necessary, but probably delicious.

Please share your crock pot memories, or favorite one-pot recipes in the Comments section.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe. I am a recent slow cooking convert, having only recently obtained a slow cooker via Freecycle ( and loving it!)

I look forward to making this on the weekend!

Angela said...

Let me know how you like it! It's one of my husband's favorites now.

WilderMiss said...

Ooooh, that sounds yummy! A crock pot is one thing I'd like to own. But alas, my small kitchen and hatred of clutter keeps me from getting one (probably a good thing). Plus, I'm pretty sure I could make this in a big pot on a Sunday afternoon.

On the rice issue - Have you ever tried brown basmati rice? I find it much nicer than the regular stuff.

Ellen said...

I have a crockpot, but really only use it for soups, since I don't eat meat. Do you have any vegetarian suggestions for me to try? I need to learn more about bean cooking--the texture has turned me off in the past but I'd like to get over that.

Angela said...

Wildermiss- thanks for the suggestion- I don't think I've ever tried brown basmati rice, but I do love regular basmati so I bet I'll like it. I'm sure you can make this recipe in any large pot at a low heat for several hours. It really is particularly delicious- it seems to be the combo of fennel seeds, thyme, and red pepper that gives it the flavor.

Ellen- I'll post a veggie recipe next- one of my other favorite crock pot recipes is vegetable curry. And I'm going to ask my mom is she happens to have that old bean recipe somewhere. Also- the last recipe I posted - Mjederah lentils(check under cheap eats) is veggie, and so easy. It doesn't look very exciting, but it really is delicious.

Moonwaves said...

Just stumbled across your blog via a series of links from other places (and linked to this post from your curry recipe). Just checking before I go off and do something silly, by red pepper do you mean peppercorns or a red pepper (i.e. a bell pepper)? Just mildly paranoid because I've read a few posts and books recently which comment on the differences in language between the continents. I would have assumed red peppercorns but this type of hunter style dish in Germany uses a lot of peppers - bell peppers that is, which the Germans call paprika. But for me paprika is that red powdery stuff my mum used to sprinkle on top of the egg mayonnaise for 'posh' parties in the early 80's - can you understand why I get confused?

Angela said...

Moonwaves- Hi! It's actually crushed red pepper (a spice) similar to what they have in pizza places. It adds a hot spiciness that's really nice, but notice it's only 1/4 teaspoon for the whole pot! I hope you like it- one of our favorites in winter!