What’s in the Crockpot? Part Three

February 20, 2011

I had my crockpot fired up at 9:30am yesterday.  What’s inside it, you ask?  That’s the point of today’s game!  So bone up by playing the previous installments (which you can find here and here), and get your thinking caps on, because it’s time to play!

WHAT’S IN THE CROCKPOT?

BALSAMIC CHICKEN WITH SQUASH AND PEARS is in the crockpot!

Believe me, the dish is way more appetizing than it looks!  This recipe, like the Tuscan White Bean Spread I recently made, came from the Good Housekeeping Light & Healthy cookbook that I got as a Christmas present:

And, also like the Tuscan White Bean Spread, I modified the recipe.  I like modifying recipes.  The main change this time around was that I adapted the recipe from being made in a skillet on the stove to being made in the crockpot.  I knew I was going to have a busy day today, and being able to throw everything in one vessel and not worry about it was going to be a big help.

The other notable modification was the addition of this guy:

It’s the delicata squash I picked up at Whole Foods a few weeks ago!  I’ve never had delicata before, but since it’s not uncommon for squashes to be turned into sweet dishes (by roasting them with brown sugar and cinnamon, for example), I thought it would pair nicely with pears (homophones!), and so, at 9am yesterday morning, I started hacking it apart.  First, I cut it in half, lengthwise, and scooped out the seeds:

Here’s where I started LOVING delicata even though I hadn’t tasted it yet: the skin is super thin, so you don’t have to peel it!  At all!  Peeling squashes can be a pain, so skipping this step made me a happy camper.  I then cut each half into slices, and they all went into the crockpot:

Then I added chicken.  I added both chicken breasts and the chicken thighs that were such a great deal, and ended up with 7 pieces of chicken to put in the crockpot, which was perfect, because I was having my aunt, uncle, and cousins over for dinner, and there was going to be six of us:

Next was the pears – three Bosc pears, which I quartered, cored, and sliced:

Into the crockpot they went.

Finally, a sauce.  I whisked together 1 cup of low-sodium chicken broth, 5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of flour:

I poured that over the other ingredients, popped the lid on the crockpot, and turned it on Low.  It cooked for about 8 hours, at which point it looked like the picture near the beginning of the post.  Here it is, all plated up:

The chicken ended up really tender and juicy, and the thighs (there’s one on that plate) just fell off the bone.  The squash and pears ended up a little mushy, and most things that get crocked for 8 hours do, but all in all, it was a delicious dish, with both sweet and sour notes.  I definitely look forward to getting another delicata, and soon!

Here’s what else was on the plate:  Steamed green beans.  How to make them: get green beans, then steam them.  The third component is a couscous/quinoa blend.  I intended it to be all couscous, but I didn’t think I had enough to serve 6 people.  I’m also getting a little tired of couscous, so at the store, I picked up a bag of quinoa, which I had never cooked before, and I made the couscous and quinoa in separate pots on the stove, and when they were done, I mixed them together in a serving bowl.  The couscous was cooked in low-sodium chicken broth, and I added shallot.  The quinoa was cooked with saffron and garlic (just to switch it up, and because I didn’t have enough chicken broth to go around).

My family really enjoyed the meal, as did I, and even with the various components, it was really easy to put together, and really healthy, too!  You should give it a try.

Keep it up, David!


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