Thursday, October 06, 2011

I am thankful for TWO crock pots!

On the one hand--and this is going to blow your mind--Thanksgiving is NEXT MONTH! On the other hand, it's still seven weeks away, which is nearly TWO months, which is too, too long to wait for some poultry and herbed stuffing, in my none-too-humble opinion. So I thought I might tide myself over by trying the heretofore unattempted DOUBLE crock pot mini-Thanksgiving dinner!

Now you could do this with a turkey breast or hindquarters, but we must keep some things sacred so close to November! So I went with a large roasting chicken. Here's what you do to it (this methodology is courtesy of my good friend and former pastor, Wade Smith):

Place a whole chicken (inside cleaned out, washed, dried, and rubbed with EVOO and your fave spices) upside down (breasts on bottom) of crock pot. Fill with white cooking wine (~2-3inches—I used half a bottle of $5 chardonnay). Cook on high heat for an hour, then low for the rest of the day (I did eight hours all on low). Juicy off the bone chicken!

*To raise the bird out of the liquid a little bit, I placed canning jar rings in the bottom of the crock.

For the dressing:
Lightly spray your crock pot with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large skillet, melt 1/2 cup (=one stick) and sauté:
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery

Add to mixture:
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

You will also need:
1 loaf sandwich bread (tear into chunks—and I will toast the bread next time)
1 can (1 1/2 to 2 cups) chicken broth (the recipe originally called for two cans or 3 1/2 cups, but that made a very soupy dressing—-so, use enough liquid to suit your tastes)
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Add the sautéed veggies and spices to the toasted bread chunks and enough liquid to get it to the texture that you prefer. If the mixture is very hot, let it cool to warm before folding in the beaten eggs. I also think some chopped, fresh parsley is good to mix in at this point (about a half cup, optional). Another fine addition would be fresh apple chunks and maybe some chopped pecans, too.

Cook in your crock pot on high for 4 hrs (or I did low for eight).

Isn't this dressing/stuffing recipe a FABULOUS idea for using your crock pot during the holidays when oven space is at a premium? :-)

And here's one more great idea: After we ate the chicken, I threw the bones and grisly bits back into the crock pot (which was 1/3 full of wine and lovely juices), filled her up with water, and threw in some carrots, onions, celery, and a handful of fresh parsley. Then I left it on low for nearly 24 hours, strained it through a flour sack towel, and now I have the most beautiful, rich brown chicken stock! You KNOW you're going to need plenty of that good stuff on hand for the holidays, and it's SO easy to make in the crock pot, and SO much more delicious than canned broth or bouillon.

No comments: