Let’s talk turkey….in about 3 weeks. For now, you don’t want to have to even think about having to make dinner, because the ultimate dinner is coming up and you are currently sifting through family recipes, cookbooks, Pinterest, and wondering if anyone would notice if you used Stove Top instead of homemade stuffing.
So, let me take the pressure off what to make for dinner this week with one of my Out Of the Box recipes. This is a no-brainer, a throw it in a pot and let it do its thing while you pick out your table settings and try and find the hand turkey painting you made when you were in Kindergarten.
My pal suggested some truly excellent slow cooker cook books. Listen, I KNOW that slow cooker cooking does not always have a sterling reputation. That everything goes in and then comes out hours later looking grey and tasting like….brown and blah. I’ve looked at hundreds of these recipes and I saw a fateful pattern: meat and veggies covered in a can of this and a ripped open soup packet of that. Nothing will taste very interesting and good if it’s all mono-sodium glutablech. The cook books recommended to me are with REAL food. No torn open packets here! There may be a bit of prep work, with some sauteing of vegetables and creating sauces and browning meat, but it is worth it, people. Michele Scicolone wrote slow cooker cookbooks called: The Italian Slow Cooker, The Mediterranean Slow Cooker, and The French Slow Cooker and they are AMAZING.
This week is a hearty meal that tastes good and takes a few minutes of prep before you set it and forget it.
Take your potatoes, clean them up, quarter them and put them in the bottom of your slow cooker. Here is the first time I strayed from the recipe. I did not use regular potatoes. I used Yukon Gold potatoes and, trust me, that worked out really, really well. Yukon, yellow, red, purple…all those little potatoes with the thin skin hold up really well in a slow cooker and they taste freakin’ awesome. You can see that I did not peel them, either. Heck, you get 20% of the nutritional value and fiber from the skin, so I just scrub them, cut them and throw them right in. DONE. Salt and pepper them and I’m ready to work on the chicken.
This recipe is not fussy. Don’t feel that you have to have only chicken breasts or must use a mixture of pieces. Use whatever you like. I like chicken thighs, so that’s all I used. Just make sure you take the skin off, pat them dry and season with salt and pepper in preparation for the skillet. It’s all going to taste like chicken later, so who cares what cut you use!
Heat up the skillet with the two tablespoons of olive oil and begin to brown the chicken on all sides. This should take about 12-15 minutes. While the chicken is getting some color, take this time to prep the onions and garlic. Feel free to slice up your two onions very thinly by hand OR you can use something like I have: OXO Good Grips Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer . This gives you thin slices in about 1/5th of the time it takes you to hand slice both onions. Plus, it is so quick, you have little time to cry about it. Just be careful to use the guard. I lost mine and have sliced my fingers twice. I’m kind of clumsy that way. It was gross.
Don’t forget to turn your chicken.
Chop up the garlic. Place your browned chicken in the slow cooker on top of the seasoned potatoes. Throw your pile of perfectly sliced onions and saute them for a good 5 minutes, or until they are soft. Add garlic and oregano and cook for one more minute. Now you are finishing up the sauce that will be poured on top of the chicken in the pot. Add the wine! Or, if you are anything like me, you forgot to buy the wine! But guess what?!!! There is always something that can be substituted. (Especially if you are already in your yoga pants and sweatshirt and was not planning on going back out there that day.) I used chicken broth and added some acidity. It just so happens that lemon juice was already a part of the flavor profile, so I just added about a tablespoon extra, and never even gave it a second thought.
And that’s the truth, by the way. I completely forgot that I had forgotten the wine. The finished product was super delicious and it was never even missed. (But goodness knows if I had forgotten the sherry that world wars would have been started.)
Once you get your onion mixture to simmer, pour it over the chicken and potatoes. Place the lid and set it on low or high….just depends on what kind of time you have. I did it on high for 3 hours, placed the lemon slices all around and under the chicken and then replaced the lid and let it cook for 1 more hour. Or, you can cook it on low for 5 hours, place the lemons around the chicken and then replace the lid for one more hour of cooking. Just don’t do what I did the first time I made this dish and forget to turn the damn thing on. I didn’t set it, I just forgot it.
When this meal is done, try and not just stand over the slow cooker and eat it right out of the dish. Take a moment to put it on a plate first. Trust me, it’s going to take will power because it smells, looks and tastes so good, but I have faith in you that you can do it. Carefully put the chicken to the side, ladle up the potatoes at the bottom of your serving dish, place the chicken on top of the potatoes and pour the saucy onion and lemon mixture all over the top of everything. It will be pretty with all the golden chicken pieces and the tangy lemony sauce mingling with the buttery potatoes.
I told you it might be hard not to just eat it straight from the cooker.
This is the kind of dish that holds up well over several days. Make sure to add a fresh salad or some sauteed green veggies on the side. It will be happily waiting in the fridge for you while you decide how many pies you need to make in addition to the pies you know you will eat yourself. No, I’m not judging you, I AM YOU. Eat the pie….. and the Lemon Chicken.
Lemon Chicken with Potatoes
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges (or the equivalent in gold potatoes)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken legs, thighs, and breasts, skin removed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 c. dry white wine
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 medium lemon, sliced and seeded
- Scatter the potatoes in the slow cooker and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken pieces and cook until nicely browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Place the chicken on top of the potatoes.
- Add the onions to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and oregano and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Pour the mixture over the chicken and potatoes.
- Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5 hours.
- Tuck the lemon slices around the chicken pieces and cook for 1 hour more, or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through. Serve hot.
- Recipe by Michele Scicolone