I have tested many recipes in my slow cooker including hearty beef stews, spicy pulled pork, savory braised short ribs, thick chowders and even overnight oatmeal. Some have been successes and some have been failures. Through my slow cooker recipe testing, I have found that a few simple tips can make for a memorable dish.
- Use meat that has some marbling of fat. It helps keep the meat juicy and makes the dish tasty. Some good choices are bone-in chicken thighs with the skin removed, beef short ribs, stew meat, and pork shoulders.
- Brown the meat before adding it to the slow cooker to build flavor in the dish.
- Use full-bodied ingredients in sauces to add the most zing to a dish.
- Add fresh herbs the last 10 minutes of cooking for a flavor boost.
My recipe for Lacquered Honey Ginger Chicken benefits from my slow cooker recipe research. Searing the meaty bone-in chicken thighs produces a golden brown exterior. Pay attention not to crowd the pan when browning the chicken as it will steam instead of sear. The browned chicken is added to the slow cooker along with chopped red onion, garlic, fresh ginger root, and spicy red pepper flakes. A sauce highlighted with honey, soy sauce, sesame oil and sweet and smoky hoisin sauce infuses the chicken while it cooks and turns it a beautiful and rich dark caramel color. The fall off the bone meal is moist and tender and does not skimp on flavor.
The robust entrée is simple to make and packs complex flavors. It pairs well with simple side dishes of basmati rice and snow peas that are sautéed until just tender crisp. Round out the dinner with green tea ice cream and fortune cookies for dessert.
After an action-packed day, it is comforting to know that your slow cooker was hard at work preparing a spectacular dinner for you and your family.
|Slow Cooker Laquered Honey Ginger Chicken|
- Olive oil
- 8 chicken thighs, bone-in and skinless, about 3 – 3 ½ pounds
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-inch piece of ginger root, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons corn starch
- Sesame seeds
- Thinly sliced scallions
- Hot cooked jasmine rice
- Heat a large sauté pan to medium high heat and drizzle with a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Add half of the chicken thighs making sure not to crowd the pan. Brown for 4 – 5 minutes and then flip over and brown for 3 – 4 more minutes. Remove from pan and place in the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs and add them to the slow cooker after they have been browned.
- Add the onion, garlic, ginger root, and red pepper flakes on top of the chicken in the slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, ketchup, and hoisin sauce. Pour over chicken. Cover the slow cooker and set for 4 hours on LOW.
- Remove chicken from the slow cooker and place on a large plate. Cover with foil. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with ¼ cup water. Stir into the sauce in the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with hot rice.
Recipe by Amy Casey
© amycaseycooks – 2013