Monday, April 28, 2014

Paleo Recipe Review: Nom Nom Paleo's Slow Cooker Chicken and Gravy

It's been a difficult week work-wise.  Like the kind that makes me start to re-think my chosen profession.  Folks, to be sure, law is not for the faint of heart.  And sometimes I wonder how this girl who grew up across the street from a cornfield, played in creeks with her brother looking for salamanders, and who grew up with the local fair being one of the biggest events of the year--ended up in this crazy, chaotic business of being a lawyer working in SF.

It's weeks like this one that remind me why I've chosen the Paleo lifestyle.  It would be so easy for me to combat the stress with a package of Hostess Cupcakes (are they even around anymore?).  I'm a stress eater.  And in the past, when I'm under the gun for a deadline, I'd totally take a break, walk across the street to Walgreen's and "treat" myself to some frosted, pre-packaged, cream-filled, cupcake delight.  But on Paleo, instead, I reach for the cauliflower puree.  Or if I'm feeling really adventurous, this new ice cream that is purely nut-based called:  Genuto.  That doesn't mean I don't still need comfort food.

So, today I'm going to do a recipe review of Nom Nom Paleo's Slow Cooker Chicken and Gravy.  Who doesn't like comfort food when you're all stressed out?  I was drawn towards this recipe because (1) ease of preparation (woohoo--slow cooker, i'm sold); and (2) GRAVY.  Yum.  

Sauteing the Onions.  



So, this is a pretty easy recipe.  Normally, when I am going to make a crock pot recipe, my expectation is that I will need to put no more effort into the dish than throwing some things into the crock pot and then letting it go.  I mean, I don't even like to sear my meat before I throw it in.  *gasp*  This recipe is not one of those throw it all in, no work recipes.  You see, the first part of this recipe requires you to saute some onions and garlic and then throw in some tomato paste.  The above pic is before the addition of the, as Nom Nom puts it, "umami."  Don't forget to add some chicken stock.  And then you put the onion mixture in the crock pot.

Seasoned bird in the crock pot.
Then you season the bird.  Of course, salt and pepper.  But also add the seasoning of your choice.  I'm on an herbs de Provence kick and so that's what went on my bird.  Nom Nom recommends cooking for no more than 6 hours.  So, probably not the kind of recipe you want to put in before you go to work.  

The finished product!

Here's where I think recipe reviews come in handy. It's how to deal with the things they don't tell you how to handle in the recipes.  First off, I love crispy chicken skin.  Cooking a chicken in a crock pot is just not going to get you that.  So, when the chicken was cooked through, after about 5-6 hours, I moved the chicken to the baking dish and put it in the oven at 425 for about 10 minutes.  The chicken browned up nicely, but still wasn't quite as crispy as I would have liked.  But I didn't want to dry out the chicken.  It was super moist from crock pot cooking.  

Next, it's time to work on the gravy part of the recipe.  After I removed the chicken, I just put an immersion blender in the crock pot.  But the gravy wasn't thick enough for me.  So, I put a tablespoon or a tablespoon and a half of tapioca flour in a bowl and mixed it with some water until it was a smooth consistency.  Next, I slowly added the water/flour mixture to the gravy and blended it up with the immersion blender again.  And then I got the gravy consistency I was looking for!  Yay.   

Final thoughts:  I really like this recipe.  Especially using herbs de Provence.  It's easy.  Yummy.  And you also get a flavorful, comforting gravy to boot.