Curried Chicken Stew {Crockpot}

I’m not sure why I’m even sharing this recipe.

I think it’s because I’ve promised myself to share the ups and downs of learning to cook – and that means that sometimes (but not as often as in the past), recipes are just not going to turn out that great.

Not that this was horrible, but it certainly was not a favorite for anyone in the house.

I was excited, once again, to use my crockpot for an easy recipe – this time branching out from my typical American or Mexican fare.  I should’ve known my crockpot successes would have to come to an end sometime.

The Recipe:

Curried Chicken Stew, slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, December 2011

6 bone-in chicken thighs

2 t olive oil

6 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 medium sweet onion, cut into narrow wedges

1 c unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 c panang curry paste

1/4 c cilantro, chopped

Trim excess skin and fat from chicken.  In skillet cook chicken, skin side down, in hot olive oil for 8 minutes, or until browned (do not turn thighs).

In slow cooker, add carrots and onion.  In small bowl, whisk together 1/2 c coconut milk and curry paste.; pour over vegetables.  Place chicken, skin side up, on top of carrots and onions.  Cover.

Cook on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Remove chicken, skim off excess fat, and then stir in remaining 1/2 c coconut milk.  Top with cilantro and serve.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I knew, knew, that I would regret using bone-in chicken thighs.  From my Tortilla Soup recipe last week, I knew that they would make the recipe greasy.  I stuck with them because I was hoping the browning beforehand might leach some of that grease out.  Wrong.

(I think BH&G used the thighs because it’s supposed to be a meal on a budget – but seriously, I have learned my lesson and will be sticking with boneless skinless breast from now on.)

Anyways, it was really easy to put together.

My math skills (or lack thereof) were put to the test when I had to chop the veggies.  Let’s just say my 2-inch carrots did not quite live up to 2 inches.  But my onions were pretty.

Besides the chopping and the browning, it was another dump and go recipe.

Things I wish I’d known before making this:

1.  Our curry paste happens to be extremely hot.  Hubs, apparently, only uses about 1/2 of what is asked in any recipe.  Oops.

2.  Even if it doesn’t say, always, always season your meat.  Otherwise it tastes bland – even after soaking in spicy curry all day.

So basically, it was an extremely hot curry surrounding some very bland and greasy chicken.  Not the most appetizing.

It’s not that I don’t think this recipe is salvageable, it’s just that we have better curry recipes that are just as easy.  But, I’m sure if someone else was motivated enough they could make this much better.  (I even tried to challenge Hubs again, but he said it wasn’t really worth it.)

One really good thing did come out of it though…

(Hint: it’s prominently shown in the picture.)

And I’ll be posting about it later this week.

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Thai Chicken Tacos

Okay, I was feeling pretty bad about my last meal. 

Especially since I double-checked my About Me section – and, yep, I had written about how I wanted to feed my family healthy food… and I’m pretty sure my butter-filled meal on Thursday did not count as healthy (though it was quite tasty!).

So, when I saw this recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens magazine, I had to give it a try.  (Also, maybe because we had all the ingredients [no grocery store trip = happy cook] and it looked super easy.)

The Recipe:

Thai Chicken Tacos, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, June 2011

1 lime

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces

1/4 c chopped cilantro

1/4 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 T fish sauce

2 t reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 t hot chili sauce

2 T vegetable oil

flour tortillas

1 recipe Cabbage Slaw (see below)

1.  Juice one lime.  In bowl stir together chicken, cilantro, onion, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, and chili sauce.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

2.  In large skillet cook chicken mixture in hot oil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked, stirring occasionally.

3.  Serve in tortillas topped with Cabbage Slaw.

Cabbage Slaw, also adapted from BH&G

2 c shredded cabbage

1/2 c shredded carrot

1/2 c sliced green onions

1/4 c sliced fresh cilantro

1/4 c coarsely chopped peanuts

1/4 c rice vinegar

1 T mayonnaise

Toss all ingredients together and serve.

Slaw!

The Results

I have to be completely honest with you all.  Hubby may have stepped in to take over help me out a bit.  I think I may have been going a little slow for him (possibly because I was also unloading the dishwasher and feeding the youngest at the same time – and instead of assisting with those tasks, he offered to help chop, go figure).  But anyhow, I did let him cut up my onions and raw chicken.  I’m weak, what can I say?

I did do everything else, though.  And the meal turned out so refreshing.  I am normally not a fan of cabbage or coleslaw, but this was tangy, tart, and very, very good.  Hubs thought it was a bit too tart and could use a dash of sugar, but I loved it just as it was.

The chicken was moist and flavorful (and you can never go wrong with cilantro in any dish, as least in my opinion).  It was a little scary grilling the chicken in the pan, as it splattered and spluttered quite a bit – in a way that I’d imagine wok-cooking to be like (though I am still very much against cooking in a wok due to a little PTSD from this little episode).  I survived with minimal injuries, though – and no false smoke detector alarms.  Yay!

Don't you just want to take a bite?

 Oh, and if I might suggest something to make the meal even more perfect: a vodka tonic with a twist of lime.  Just do it.  Trust me.

Mmmmm