Saturday 1 June 2013

School Night Dinner Series - Recipe 2 - Slow Cooker Chicken with Shallot and Ginger Dipping Sauce

This is my second recipe in the School Night Dinners Series, where I'm sharing our top 5 favourite quick, nutritious, no fuss and tasty week-night meals.  See the first recipe here!

This is one of those recipes that's super quick in terms of the hands-on prep time, and is especially quick to get on the plate at dinner time, but it does require some fore-thought to give enough time for it to actually cook (about 4 hours).  In other words, if you've just walked in the door, have been out all day, and have not given any thought to what will be on the menu tonight, this is probably not the best option.  Maybe try this one for those days!

Having said that the prep time for this meal is almost nil.  I often make this one on the days I know we're going to be in a real hurry at dinner time. I prep it all at lunch time, whack the slow cooker on, and at dinner time it's all done!

This recipe uses an electric slow-cooker.  If you don't have one, I would really recommend it.  We bought a very cheap one ($19 I think it was in Big W), just so that we could give it a try.  I figured that if it died, and I felt I couldn't do without it, I'd replace it with a better one at that point.  Anything to avoid another unused, space-taking, expensive appliance in this house ... anyone else identify with that!?!  Anyway, our cheapo one is still going strong a few years down the track.  The best part about it is that the ceramic pot-part can go in the dishwasher ... Amen to that!!

Ingredients: (This serves the 4 of us easily, usually with some leftover chicken)
- 1 whole chicken (I love when the free-range ones are on special.  I stock up on them when they are, so I generally always have one of these beauties in the freezer)
- 1 salt-reduced chicken stock-cube (optional)
- Water
- 4 potatoes
- Other veggies (as desired)
For the dipping sauce:
- 4 shallots (that's what we call them here in Sydney ... they're also known as Spring Onions and Scallions in other parts of the world)
- 1 knob of ginger (about 2 inches by 1 inch)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce


1. Place your chicken in the slow-cooker, and break/cut the stock cube up and drop it in the bottom of the pot around the chicken.  Add 1 cup water to the pot, and put the lid on.  Note - I have done this with a fully frozen chicken (as evidenced in this pic below) and it has still worked perfectly ... many times, so if you don't have the time to thaw it, don't bother!!

2.  Turn the slow cooker on.  Now, mine has a "low" or a "high" setting.  If using the low setting, cooking will take about 8 hours (great if you're putting this on to cook before you head off to work in the morning).  If using the high setting, cooking will take about 4 hours.

3. So, after 4 hours (on high) or 8 hours (on low) the house will smell amazing, and you'll realise it's almost school pick-up time, so you'd better dash.  When you get back, peel and chop the potatoes into 1-2 inch square bits (remember ... the smaller they are, the quicker they'll cook!)  Place the potatoes in the pot around the edges of the chicken, and put the lid back on.  Now's the time to bath those kiddos, and by the time that's done (about 20 minutes), your potatoes will be cooked.  And by cooked ... I mean divine.  Those potatoes are so full of flavour from cooking in the juices of the chicken and stock ... mouth-wateringly yum!

That's it ... chicken done!  Can't get much easier than that!!  The chicken will literally just fall off the bone, and the mean is so tender.

Now for the dipping sauce ... Bethany and Hannah don't really like this as they're not fans of ginger, but this just "adultifies" (yep making up words again) this dish a little for Mummy and Daddy!

1.  Slice your shallots finely, then chop and chop until they're really finely diced ... almost minced.

2.  Finely grate your ginger.

3. Heat the canola oil in a small fry pan over high heat for approximately 2 minutes or until very hot.  Meanwhile mix the shallots and ginger in a small HEAT-PROOF bowl.

4. When the oil is heated, pour very carefully over the ginger and shallot mixture.  Stir gently to mix it through.  The oil should sizzle beautifully as you mix it in, and this cooks the ginger and shallots as you mix it through.

5.  Once mixed through, pour the mixture back into the hot fry pan, and mix gently (off the heat) for another 30 seconds to let it cook just a little more.

5.  Stir through the soy sauce, and then serve.  You can either serve it in a little sauce dish for dipping or spread it over the chicken like I did here!  The perfect accompaniment to this chicken I reckon!

Now all you need is some other steamed veg of your choice, and dinner's on the table!  

It's the kind of dish that looks like you've slaved for hours ... when really it's only been about 10-15 mins of prep altogether (including adding the potatoes and making the dipping sauce), and the slow-cooker has done the rest!

Now if, like us, you have some chicken left over, and it doesn't get used up on sandwiches or in salads the next day, stay tuned!  Got a great left-over-chicken recipe coming up next!!

1 comment :

  1. It's enough to make me want to go and buy a slow cooker! Specially your comment that you don't have to thaw the chicken which is half the battle! :D