27 February 2012

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken

Growing up, my mom used her slow cooker for beans and maybe a stew every now and then. I didn't think much about using one myself and a few over-cooked chickens later, I figured maybe the only thing they were good for was beans.

I now realize that the slow cooker isn't a terrible way to cook. It's just there are a lot of terrible slow cooker recipes. Those where you simply dump things in, walk away and come back eight hours later expecting a decent dinner.

The secret to the slow cooker isn't that it is effortless. You merely put out the effort hours before dinner, so that the reward is truly at mealtime, when you've just got to serve.

Here's a chicken dish our family has been enjoying. I usually serve it over rice or couscous. Using chicken thighs is just tastier, plus they hold up better to the long cooking time without getting too dry.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, coriander, paprika and cumin in a bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a little bit of black pepper.

Toss 3 to 4 medium chicken thighs in the spice mixture to coat. Set aside.

Slice one medium onion.

Slice a couple of good sized carrots.

Round up some dried fruit like these prunes, raisins or apricots.

Begin to layer the ingredients in the slow cooker. Start with onions and carrots.

Then the chicken.

Then the dried fruit. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over it all.

Cook on low for about 3.5 to 4 hours. The precise cook time will vary on the cooker and the size of the chicken thighs. Don't overcook. If the chicken is ready before you are, turn the heat off and keep the lid on to keep warm. If you need to hold it even longer, remove from cooker, cool, refrigerate and reheat before serving.