School’s started and the crockpot is one of my favorite and easiest ways to get a hot meal on the table at the end of the day. Not only do we end up with a homemade meal but, you walk in and the house smells heavenly and the cleanup is minimal.
I use a lot of recipes from “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. This, and other recipes from this cookbook, can be found by clicking on this link. Here’s my version of the recipe, adapted from this cookbook, which my family gobbled up last night. 🙂
Probably the main difference in my version is that I like to brown the chicken and saute the onions and garlic before putting them in the crockpot. I also didn’t have dry white wine on hand so I used an opened bottle of champagne instead, which worked fine. And, because it was easy and convenient, I used all chicken thighs instead of mixing it with drumsticks. The original recipe is a bit easier because everything goes into the crockpot, without any cooking on the stove, but, I like the texture and flavor of the chicken better with my added steps.
The original recipe suggests serving this over rice or noodles. I added potatoes so you can eat this as-is right out of the pot. To keep this gluten-free I omitted the flour and I served it up over polenta. I also made my own marinara sauce, which I consider pretty easy to do. I just recommend using San Marzano tomatoes, which you can buy in the can at any store. In my opinion, they just have a richer, sweeter tomato flavor. Lastly, I increased the portions a bit to make this a recipe for 6-8, instead of 4. My family has big appetites. 🙂
I’m curious what you think of this recipe, compared to the original version. Make it and come back to leave a comment with your take on this recipe. Enjoy!
CROCKPOT CHICKEN CACCIATORE
~ 4 cups homemade marinara sauce (see recipe below)
1 medium-size yellow onion, cut in half and sliced into half-moons
1 to 3 cloves garlic, to your taste, minced
1 medium-size green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 tbsp coconut or canola oil
8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered
~ 1/4 cup dry white wine or champagne
3 cups fingerling or red potatoes, in 1/2 inch chunks
Shredded parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)
1. In a skillet or fry pan, heat coconut or canola oil on medium high heat, add your chicken and brown about 1 minute on each side
2. Layer half of the marinara sauce and all of the bell pepper, and browned chicken in the crockpot.
3. To the skillet, on medium high, add the onion and saute 1 minute to slightly soften, add the garlic and saute another minute (turn down the heat if the garlic starts browning), then add the wine or champagne. Heat on high and scrape up all the browned chicken bits. Let reduce a couple minutes then pour into the crockpot.
4. Add the potatoes, sprinkle the mushrooms on top and cover with the remaining marinara sauce.
5. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 2 1/2 to 3 hours on HIGH or 6 to 7 hours on LOW.
6. Serve as-is or over rice, noodles or polenta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.
Additional Notes: I love mushrooms in this recipe but, my daughter doesn’t so I’ve made this without them and it tastes just fine. I’ve also followed the original recipe, by skipping steps 1. and 3. but, I prefer this version with the extra steps of browning the chicken and sauteing the onions and garlic. For sure, I have ADDED steps to this recipe but, I still think it’s pretty easy. It took me about 30 minutes to prep and get this all into the crockpot, including the time it took to make the marinara sauce below.
SIMPLE HOMEMADE MARINARA SAUCE
1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 – 2 tbsp agave syrup or sugar, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
In medium size skillet saute the onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until softened, ~ 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the salt and pepper. Heat until bubbly then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree with an immersion hand blender to break up whole tomatoes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If using this sauce in the above chicken cacciatore recipe, the sauce is ready to use since the flavors will continue to develop in the crockpot. Otherwise, cover and let simmer another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for 2 months.