Rush Hour

I love using my slow cooker. However, there are some ingredients that work better with it than others. Tougher cuts of meats benefit from the slow, even heat. However, filet mignon would quickly become mush. Dark meat poultry holds up better than white meat. That's why I'm offering a stew recipe that uses some of the best "rules" for successful slow cooking.
  1. First, it's almost always best to start with a layer of vegetables that are cut into similar sized pieces. The tougher the veggies, the smaller the pieces should be.
  2. Whenever possible, prefer dark meat to light meat. It holds up better to the long cooking times.
  3. Prefer a shorter cooking time if you are using meat that has been taken off the bone. Again, having the bone there helps it hold up better.
  4. Season generously and be prepared for a final dish that's got that flavor evenly distributed throughout the dish.
  5. Add less liquid than you think you'll need. Slow cooking doesn't allow extra juices to escape, so only small amounts of additional flavorful liquid need to be added.

Using basic rules like these will help you have slow cooking success. To start you out on your adventure, below is one of my favorite tried and true recipes.

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

All-Day Mediterranean Chicken Stew

  • 2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 (12 oz.) jar marinated artichokes
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 T. quick cooking tapioca
  • 2 lbs. skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 T. Italian herbs
  • 3/4 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. white wine

Place the mushrooms, artichokes and tomatoes -- along with any liquid from these ingredients -- into the bottom of a large slow cooker. Sprinkle the vegetables with the tapioca. Arrange the chicken over the vegetables. Combine the seasonings and sprinkle over the chicken. Carefully pour the broth and wine into the bottom of the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW. Serve over hot couscous, noodles or rice.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 4-8 hours, depending on slow cooker temperature