Comfort Food Without A Fuss With Crock Pot Chicken Recipes

by Chasity Sheppard

As winter approaches, people are preparing for their tried and trusted methods of keeping warm. They may take out the thick, snuggly clothes and blankets or dust off the heater. Some stock up on warming drinks like hot chocolate, fortified wine and vodka. Most also get ready to prepare those rich, comforting, hearty meals that will drive the winter blues away. With a couple of crock pot chicken recipes, you can prepare great winter comfort food without having to slave away in the kitchen.

The name 'crock pot' is actually a brand name for a specific kitchen appliance. However, many people use it simply to refer to a slow cooker in general. It's a special device that uses low temperatures to cook your food very slowly.

The great thing about a slow cooker is that it saves you a lot of time in the kitchen. You simply have to add the ingredients to the device, set the timer and leave it. Because you don't have to watch it constantly, you can leave your food cooking while you go to work, shopping or take a long nap. It's very difficult to burn anything in a slow cooker, which makes it perfect for people whose culinary skills aren't too great.

A common way to use slow cooking is to make stews. This is perfect if you have tough meat that you want to turn into something tasty, since the extended cooking time makes the meat soft and tender. Adding the right spices will help you to make a fragrant chicken curry too, just like you would in a tandoor, the clay oven used in Indian cooking.

If your idea of heavenly winter food is a thick, hearty soup, slow cooking is just the method for you. This helps the flavors to blend so that you won't be left with a watery soup. If you want it to be even creamier, simply liquidize a few ladles full of soup at the end of the cooking time and then mix it in with the rest. With a crock pot you don't even need to rely on your gran to feed you chicken soup, since you can let the cooker do the work while you curl up in bed.

It's not only stews and soups that you can make in a slow cooker. Tandoori chicken is prepared slowly too and if you don't like Indian food, it's easy to do a simple, traditional roast. If you have lots of ripe tomatoes, use them for jars of home-made spaghetti sauce. Fruit and berries can be turned into delicious preserves and jams and you can even make slow cooked desserts.

When you slow cook food, it's important to remember that liquids don't evaporate as much as they do with regular cooking. If you add too much liquid, you might end up with a watery mess. Another disadvantage is that especially vegetables may lose their flavor and nutritional content if you overcook them. However, blanching or sauteing them beforehand can help prevent this and before serving, it's easy to increase the meal's nutritional value by adding a little lemon or lime juice or vitamin-rich garnishes like parsley or cilantro.

If you love poultry meat, you can't go wrong having a few basic crock pot chicken recipes in your arsenal. The appliance usually comes with a recipe booklet where you can find ideas. The internet is another wealth of information and resources but through experimentation with your slow cooker, you may stumble across your own winter standbys.

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