Thursday, September 8, 2011

Olive and Lemon Chicken: Tricky Cookbook Recipe Made Easy

Last week my co-worker, a fellow cooking enthusiast from this blog, lent me a beautiful Slow Cooker cookbook to try out.

She hadn't had time to get into it and the recipes looked a little overly complicated so she lent it to me to play around with and see if I could simplify any of the recipes and still get some good flavors. Flipping through the big glossy pictures and intricate descriptions, I saw dishes that looked absolutely delicious but had ridiculously overly complicated recipes. For me the whole point of a slowcooker is to make things EASY and quick! So I decided to try one out my style: a little healthified and a whole lot simpler. I chose an olive and lemon chicken recipe that called for homemade preserved lemons. I simplified the recipe by using ground spices instead of grinding my own, using less meat to makes fewer portions, spending less time pre-cooking the food and skipping the "preserved lemons" altogether. I detest recipes that have recipes within them -- so there was no way I was going to spend any time preserving lemons... Nice try cookbook guy! I healthified the recipe using cooking spray instead of oil, less flour and skinless chicken. It was still not the quickest thing I've ever made but it was easy enough to do on a weekday and had great flavors. The next recipe I try from this book I'm literally just going to skip all the pre-cooking steps, toss all the ingredients in the slow cooker and see what happens.

For now, here's a delicious dinner party or family meal! It is fairly simple, very flavorful and re-heats up tastily for leftovers. We ate ours with grainy toasted bread to dip into the tasty sauce.

Olive and Lemon Chicken - Adapted from Andrew Schloss's Marrakech Chicken Stew
-Makes 3 servings

-1 boneless and skinless chicken breasts and 3 chicken thighs (you could also do all thighs or just breasts.)
-3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
-2 tablespoons coriander
-1 tablespoon cumin
-1/2 cup cheap white wine
-1 cup chicken broth
-1 chopped onion
-Zest of 1 lemon

-1/2 cup parsley
-1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
-2 tablespoons lemon juice

-Season the chicken with salt and pepper
-Combine half of the cumin and coriander in a big bowl with the flour
-Dip the chicken into the bowl to coat in the flour and seasonings. Keep any leftover flour/seasonings.
-Put a large pan over medium high heat and spray with Pam
-Put the other half of the cumin and coriander in the pan and let heat up for a minute.
-Add the chicken into the pan and brown on both sides for a couple minutes and then remove from the heat and put in the slow cooker (don't turn it on yet.)
-Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute for two minute with a big sprinkle of salt and a small sprinkle of pepper.
-Add the wine and chicken broth to the veggies as well as any leftover flour mixture and cook and stir until this mixture comes to a boil and thickens a bit.
-Remove the above from heat and stir in the lemon zest. Pour this all over the chicken in the slow cooker and cook on high heat for 2-3 hours or low for 4 hours.
-When it is done cooking mix the lemon juice, parsley and olives into it and serve it into bowls or onto a platter.
Enjoy with some hearty toasted bread to dip into the extra sauce!

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