Thursday, February 12, 2015

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

Oops! Wrote this a week ago and never posted. Better late than never, right?

It sure it a photogenic meal.

I do not like honey and you can bet if the word "berry" is anywhere in the vicinity of a recipe it is not for me. However for some reason this one spoke to me. Call it fate. Call it kismet. Call it what you will, but as soon as I read this recipe I knew I had to try it.

2-3 large bone-in (with skin) chicken breasts (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup blackberry jam
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Sliced scallions, for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish

Arrange the chicken breasts in the slow cooker so that they are not overlapping.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, blackberry jam, hoisin, olive oil, garlic, onion, and crushed red pepper flakes, and then pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover the slow cooker and cook the chicken on low for 4 to 5 hours or until the chicken is fully cooked.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker (reserving the liquids) and place it on a cutting board. Remove the skin and bones then use two forks to shred the chicken into smaller pieces. Place the shredded chicken in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water.

Strain the liquids from the slow cooker into a small saucepan set over medium-high heat and whisk in the cornstarch. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook it until it reduces and has thickened, about 5 minutes (it might have been more honestly). Pour a little bit of the sauce over the chicken, tossing to combine. Serve the chicken topped with sliced scallions and sesame seeds and the remaining sauce on the side.

The blog I got this recipe from had some excellent pointers that I will address first.

"Using bone-in chicken breasts, rather than boneless chicken breasts, is key to guaranteeing moist, tender shredded chicken." I, for once, did not use skinless, boneless chicken breasts. It lived up to the advice too. The chicken was pretty moist. I left the skin on while cooking. The sauce is a bit overpowering here (more on that later). I feel like the skin acts as a shield that allows you to control the sauce level after the fact.

Plus I am lazy. Taking that skin off is effort, right?

"Depending on your preferences, you may want to pour only a portion of the sauce over the shredded chicken. Any leftover sauce can be served with other proteins or veggies." I cannot stress this one enough. There was so much sauce left over after the fact. This would have been overwhelming (and I guess kind of disgusting) if I had dumped it all on.

I used 1/8 of a teaspoon crushed red pepper. The wifey noticed the tiniest bit of heat, which means I did not notice at all. This just did not strike me as something I wanted spicy, but maybe that is just me. 

This took a lot of cookware: slow cooker, rice cooker, pot, bowls, cutting board, etc. Luckily the wifey does the clean up!

My rice cooker has twice the capacity of my slow cooker because... poor planning?

Aside: I think this is the first time I have worked with hoison. I am not sure sure how that is possible at this point in my life, but I believe it to be true.

I cooked this sauce down until it was thick and sticky. I did not log the time, hence the unsure cooking time above.

"Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble."

I liked it. The wifey tolerated. Some days that is enough. That said, this will not be making the regular rotation of dinners.

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