Greek Chicken & Vegetable Ragout

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First crock pot meal of the fall!  I spotted this recipe in a crock pot roundup awhile back and decided this week was the perfect time to give it a try.  Winningly simple, as a crock pot recipe needs to be to make it into my book, this was as easy as chopping up some veggies, throwing boneless skinless chicken thighs into the ceramic bowl, adding some spices, and leaving it to do its work.

First, some baby red potatoes.

These got thrown in the post with some sliced carrots and a tub of homemade chicken broth.

And almost two pounds of boneless skinless chicken.

What else goes in here?  Just half a cup of white wine, 4 cloves of pressed garlic, and a teaspoon of salt.

Our slow cooker is reeeeeally slow, so this actually cooked on our kitchen counter for a good seven hours on Wednesday while we were both at work, and was done just in time for me to come home to find Jesse putting the finishing touches on his Halloween costume (he was a shadow) and to pull off these final steps:

* Adding 1 can of artichoke hearts to the stew and giving it a stir

* Removing most of the chicken and veggies from the broth and thickening this broth up with a mixture of these ingredients, whisked together separately:

  • 1 egg and 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • dill
  • fresh ground pepper

* Letting this sauce thicken up for a few minutes in the bowl of the crock pot, and then pouring it over the chicken and veggies as a  rich lemony dressing.

I opted out of the Halloween festivities for a much-needed night at home in my pajamas, passing out candy to trick-or-treaters for the first time in my new house (and the first time in 5 years that I haven’t lived in a hidden basement apartment!), and catching up on a host of near-finished knitting projects that have been clamoring for attention.

This Week’s Groceries

Fred Meyer 10/31
  • Carrots: $0.97
  • Parsley: $0.99
  • Chicken thighs: $6.63
  • Ground pork: $1.97
  • Cottage cheese: $2.49
  • Yogurt: $2.55
  • Artichoke hearts: $2.75
  • Ricotta cheese: $2.69
  • Yellow onions: $1.29
  • Dave’s Killer Bread: $4.99 — As someone who baked her own bread for 3+ years, trust me, this does feel ridiculous.
  • Box of satsumas: $4.48
  • Pie crusts: $3.57
  • Large eggs: $4.19
  • Whole grain mustard: $2.29
  • 1% milk: $2.99
TOTAL: $45.93

Mole Pulled Pork Tacos with Buttermilk Cilantro Slaw

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I don’t quite know how I’ve made it 30 years without ever using a crock pot, but it’s true.  I feel like most of the meals I make are fairly quick and simple as it is, so I never latched on to the true romanticism of throwing all the ingredients together in the morning and coming home to a ready-made meal.   

Especially because, I’m now realizing, even if it’s just chopping and measuring, doesn’t that require you to do all the work either after you’ve cooked your regular dinner the night before, or in the morning while you’re drinking coffee and the idea of chopping onions and garlic is sort of nauseating?  I’m a die-hard breakfast traditionalist though, so maybe that’s just me.

In any case, practical or not, I was still curious.  So last week, I asked Jesse if I could borrow his slow cooker for the occasion, and did some online research.  I didn’t want to do a soup or a stew, because I feel like I already do that on the stovetop like every week, probably just using a lot more water as I let it all cook down, evaporate, and then add more to continue the process.  New appliance should equal a new style of food, right?!

Well, I’ve certainly never bought pork in this form before, but I stumbled upon this recipe and decided to try it out.

So true to legend, I really just chopped all this up and threw it in the pot:

A whole yellow onion, a few cloves of garlic, a handful of raisins, and a dried ancho chile pepper…

Some anise stars…

And a whole bunch of other stuff, including:

  • a few pinches of red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • a whole cinnamon stick
  • 14-oz of canned diced tomatoes
  • a 6-oz can of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2T each mole powder and veggie bullion

It looked pretty unappealing at first, but…

Pretty awesome after 4 hours on low and 4 hours on high in the slow cooker.

My idea was to make little tacos, so I heated up some corn tortillas I had in the freezer, made a big pot of wild brown rice pilaf, and this slaw from Smitten Kitchen that I’ve been eyeing forever, replacing the napa cabbage with some regular green cabbage and sliced (rather than diced) radishes.

For the dressing, I shook all these together in a jar and poured it over the top of the salad:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2T mayonnaise
  • 2T apple cider vinegar
  • 3T minced shallot
  • 1T sugar
  • A few chopped green onions

Okay, I could get used to this crockpot thing.