Chicken isn’t something we have too often, mainly because it’s one of the more expensive things to buy from the farm (costs more than vegetables, anyway!). but it’s a meat we enjoy on occasion. Chicken legs are one of the more economical cuts to purchase, and they are so incredibly easy to prepare, especially when you toss them in a slow cooker. This recipe has a rich flavor with salty soy sauce, fresh ginger, nutty sesame oil, spicy chili powder, and sweet honey. Served with some kale sautéed in a touch of sesame oil and chili powder, this dish is a crowd pleaser!
Slow Cooked Soy-Ginger Chicken
Yes, that is grocery store purchased chicken in this picture! I think it's the only meat we've purchased from a market in over a year. We had a gift card to Trader Joe's and decided to give their product a try. I've got to say, it was odd to have meat in a Styrofoam tray with a bar code sticker ...
- 1 onion
- 6-8 chicken legs
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2″ chunk ginger
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 c. soy sauce
- 1/4 c. honey
- 1.5 T. sesame oil
- Peel and cut onion into 1/4″ slices. Place onion slices in bottom of slow cooker.
- Place chicken legs on top of onion slices.
Layer chicken legs on top of onion slices.
- Peel garlic cloves & crush them. Add to slow cooker.
- Peel ginger and cut into 1/8″ slivers. Add to slow cooker.
- Sprinkle chili powder and black pepper over chicken. Add bay leaf.
Flavorful ginger, garlic & bay leaf
- Whisk together soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil. Pour over chicken.
Soy Sauce Mixture
- Cook on low for 8 hours.
- Remove bay leaf and serve over rice with sauteed greens.
Soy Ginger Chicken with Sauteed Kale
Cold weather root vegetable season is quickly coming to an end—Radishes, pea shoots, ramps and spring onions are appearing, and we are welcoming them! This will likely be the last turnip-centric recipe I post for this year (we’re as happy about that as you are!). This Morrocan-inspired dish is ridiculously easy to prepare in a slow cooker, and the seasonal vegetables are enhanced with the addition of several rich spices. Whenever one of my friends is setting off on a global vacation (a luxury I have yet to be able to afford), I always hand them a few dollars and ask if they’d mind bringing me some spices if they happen to visit a market. I’ve been fortunate to build up a lovely spice collection this way, with friends bringing me samplings of authentic spices from places as far as Turkey and India. I used several of these spices in this meal to create layers of flavor. The addition of dried apricots or golden raisins would add another desired complexity in flavor. I forgot to take pictures while I was cooking this, but I think it’s pretty easy to put together.
Root Veggie Tagine
- 3 lbs root vegetables (I used a combination of carrots, turnips, sweet potato, red potato, and rutabaga)
- 4 dried apricots or a handful golden raisins, optional
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 T. dried parsley
- Hot sauce, to taste
- 1.5 c. vegetable broth
- Peel vegetables and cut into 1-1.5″ cubes. (I left the peel on the red potatoes & carrots.) Chop dried apricots, if using.
- Place root vegetables and dried fruit into slow cooker.
- Sprinkle with spices and hot sauce.
- Pour vegetable broth over vegetables.
- Cook in slow cooker for 8 hours on low heat.
- Serve over rice or couscous.
Exotic flavors blend into layers of flavor in this easy dish.
A little while ago, we received the cutest little purple cabbages in a Pure Sprouts all-local bin (those bins have been lifesavers in these hectic weeks!). The cabbages were about 4 inches across, and I knew that they were too adorable to just chop up and use the way I’d normally do with cabbage. I tried to think of something creative and settled on slow-cooker stuffed cabbages. Instead of rolling up individual leaves around filling and drowning them in thick spaghetti sauce, I layered filling between the outer leaves of the cabbages and in an inner hollow, then slow cooked them in a light tomato and beer sauce! My original filling plans were derailed a bit when the mushrooms I planned to use were eaten before I could use them, but this non-traditional filling I whipped up turned out to be quite delicious!
Stuffed Mini Cabbages
- 2 small heads purple cabbage, about 4 inches in diameter
- 4 small carrots (Pure Sprouts)
- 1 small onion (Jett’s Produce)
- 1/2 lb. ground beef (Pure Sprouts)
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary (my garden)
- 4 slices grilled eggplant, optional (frozen from this summer)
- 1 egg (Pure Sprouts)
- 1/2 c. tomato puree, or unseasoned tomato sauce (frozen from this summer)
- 1/4 c. vegetable stock
- 1/2 can beer
- Cut the stem of the cabbage to be level towards the base of each cabbage head. Cut a 1/2″ slice off the top of each head and set it aside.
- Using a spoon, scrape out a hollow in the middle of each cabbage head, leaving about a half inch shell intact and reserving the innards for a different use (look for a kielbasa, cabbage & pierogi casserole recipe soon!)
- Gently spread the outer couple of leaves away from shell, careful to keep them attached at the base.
The hollowed out cabbage with outer leaves gently peeled back looks like a flower!
- Grate carrots and finely chop onion and eggplant.
- Mix vegetables, ground beef and rosemary in bowl.
Meat & Veggie Filling
- Beat egg and add to beef and vegetable mixture.
- Spread filling in between peeled back outer leaves, gently folding them back along the cabbage.
Filling between leaves
- Fill hollowed center with meat and vegetable mixture and top with reserved slice of cabbage head, then place in slow cooker.
- Pour beer, tomato puree and vegetable stock over cabbages.
- Cook in slow cooker on low heat for 8 hours, or until cabbage is tender.
Just out of the slow cooker, before sauce.
- Serve hot with sauce spooned over top of cabbages.
This dish is a really unique spin on stuffed cabbage. My husband and I were both a tad skeptical on how it would work out, but it was fantastic!
In an effort to find yet another way to use apples from my enthusiastic picking trip (I’ve even given dozens away and STILL have apples), I decided to put them to savory use. I pulled out my trusty slow cooker, some root veggies and potatoes and a half chicken from the freezer and got to work mixing up a curry dish that made the house smell heavenly and reminded me of my dear friend Fatima who had to head back to Tanzania to help her father. If you are one of those people who fears curry because of its aroma, please, give this recipe a try—It will warm your spirit!
We saved half of the chicken meat to put on Asian inspired chicken salads the next day—I’ll post that recipe soon!
Slow Cooker Curried Chicken & Apples
- Chop potatoes, apples, leek or onion, celery and carrot into 1.5″ pieces.
- Mix chopped veggies in bottom of slow cooker.
- Sprinkle with 1 T. of curry powder and salt & pepper, then stir.
- Brush olive oil on both sides of chicken, then rub in remaining 1 T. of curry powder.
- Place chicken on top of vegetables in slow cooker and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
- After 8 hours, remove chicken and vegetables from slow cooker with a slotted spoon.
Chicken & Veggies
- Whisk plain yogurt into juices in bottom of slow cooker until smooth.
- Remove chicken from bones, if desired.
- Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables to serve and top with scallions, bean sprouts and/or roasted chickpeas.
I like to add something crunchy like these beans sprouts for contrast on top of this dish. Serve with flatbread for sopping up the yummy sauce!
The slow cooker is a positively amazing creation. I love approaching my front door and smelling a delicious meal before I even unlock it. Sometimes, that is because my husband is lovingly/messily cooking inside, but sometimes, especially in the winter, it’s because the slow cooker has been working away all day so that a hot, rich meal is waiting for me. Sure, I did the prep work for the recipe, but if a day at my job has happened in between the prep work and the devouring, I hardly remember that I put any effort into it. It’s like working from home—Really, it’s the same amount of effort, but it just feels better. And you can wear pajamas.
Despite my affection for the slow cooker, I’ve also always been kind of wary of it. For years, I thought that all you could pull from it was gloppy, grayish brown concoctions of mush with too much salt and little flavor. When I learned you could make things other than pot roast in a slow cooker, I rebelled, cooking up curries and lasagnas. The one thing I missed out on was that the crock pot classics don’t have to be bland and squishy. Stew can be complexly flavored with varying textures and colors! Gravy doesn’t need to be lumpy! I knew all of these things in the realm outside slow cookery, but for some reason, I had created a mental block against those time honored dishes.
So, when I picked up one steak last week and was trying to think of ways to stretch it to feed my husband and I for a few days, I decided to give good ol’ beef stew a try. It was a hectic week, so the slow cooker was a perfect tool, and my husband was working hard on storm cleanup, so I knew he’d want something hearty. After dumping a few ingredients together, what was waiting on the other side of my door, making the porch smell delightful, was sophisticated in its flavors yet comforting in its essence.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
A great way to stretch a steak!
- Cut onion into thick slices and place on bottom of greased slow cooker.
- Cut steak into 1″ cubes.
- Slice celery into 1″ lengths.
- Cut potatoes and yam into 1.5″ chunks.
- Layer steak, celery, potatoes and yam on top of onions.
- Pour beer, hot sauce, and tomato purée into large bowl.
- Crush garlic cloves and add to liquid.
- Add herbs de provence, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Whisk until smooth.
- Pour liquid mixture over beef and vegetables in slow cooker. (I go up to this step the night before I plan on eating it, then put the crock in the fridge overnight to just pull out and put on to cook the next morning.)
- Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 8 hours.
- After you finish marveling at how great your home smells 8 hours later, mix the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of water using a fork until it dissolves.
- Add the cornstarch to the slow cooker and turn the temperature to high. Let cook for 15 minutes or until thickened.
- Serve with crusty bread and a beer.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
To me, autumn is the official start of slow-cooker season (although I don’t know why I don’t use it more often in other months). I love the notion of coming home and smelling something yummy before I even open the door. We still had a few of summer’s last foods, too, so I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to ease into fall with a warming dish using some warm weather ingredients. Even though there’s a jalapeno in here, it’s not spicy at all—just a nice balance of sweet and savory. Say hello to the best season (in my opinion) with these succulent ribs!
Sweet & Savory Spare Ribs
- 3 lbs. pork spare ribs (Klein Farms)
- drizzle of olive oil
- 3 tomatoes (Jett’s Natural Produce)
- 1 onion (Heritage Farms CSA)
- 1 jalepeno (Heritage Farms CSA)
- 1/4 c. peach or apricot juice (Smart Juice)
- 1/4 c. white wine (Franklin Hill Vineyards)
- 3 T. brown sugar (I was out of brown sugar but had this random packet of sweet potato seasoning, which included brown sugar, ginger, salt and pepper so I used it in place of those ingredients)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 T. cider vinegar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 sprig rosemary (my garden)
- Separate the ribs into individual riblets (or have your butcher do this).
- Heat some olive oil in a heavy skillet.
- Add riblets to skillet. Cook over high heat until browned on bottom, about 1-2 minutes, then flip and repeat.
I like to use a cast iron skillet to brown meat before slow cooking.
- Thickly slice onion and place in bottom of slow cooker.
- Pile riblets on top of onion.
- Chop tomatoes and remove seeds and veins from jalapeno. Place in food processor.
- Puree tomatoes and pepper. Add juice, wine, vinegar, brown sugar and ginger (or packet like I used) , then mix until combined.
- Pour tomato mixture over riblets.
- Place cinnamon sticks and rosemary on top, then cover slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with roasted potatoes or baked sweet potatoes.
You can taste the start of fall.
*Tip: If you want to be extra frugal, pull the meat from the bones when the ribs are done and save the bones to make pork stock (great for Asian recipes)! You can also save the extra sauce in the crockpot to use in the future.