Nom Nom Paleo

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

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Today, I present another winner from Slow Cooker Revolution. I love that the cooking geeks at America’s Test Kitchen are super OCD about testing and retesting their recipes so I don’t have to tweak them too much at home. 

They list some great, eye-opening tips for cooking chicken in the slow cooker:

  1. Cook chicken ONLY 4-6 hours on LOW.
  2. Choose meaty thighs for flavor.
  3. Trim the fat and remove skin so your braising liquid doesn’t become an oil slick.
  4. Position a whole chicken breast side down (and cook a whole chicken on LOW for ONLY 4-6 hours).
  5. Brown only when necessary for flavor.

Unfortunately, a TON of the recipes in the book are totally grain or legume heavy. For example, all recipes that use ground beef incorporate a panade, bread mixed with milk, to help keep the meat moist.

The chicken cacciatore recipe, similar to the one for Korean short ribs, is pretty simple and the results were yummy. The only Paleo substitution I made was to omit the tapioca so the resulting sauce is a little thin. This dish reheats beautifully and I know ‘cause I cooked it in the slow cooker a couple days ago and served it tonight for dinner.

Here’s what I assembled to serve 6 hungry adults: 

  • 2 onions, minced in my food processor
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (I like the stuff that comes in a tube)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 1/2 ounce of dried mixed wild mushrooms, rinsed and minced (use all dried porcini mushrooms if you have it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small or quartered if large
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup organic chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3 pounds of boneless and skinless chicken thighs (the original recipe called for 12 skinless, bone-on thighs)
  • 1/4 chopped fresh basil

Here’s how I made it:

I dumped the onions, tomato paste, butter, garlic, oregano, wild mushrooms, and red pepper flakes in a microwave safe bowl…

…and nuked everything on high for ~5 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the onions were softened.

I put the cooked aromatics in the slow cooker and stirred in the cremini, tomatoes, broth, and wine.

I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and nestled them into the slow cooker and mixed everything well.

Then, I put on the lid and cooked the dish for  4-6 hours on low.

When the dish was finished, I transfered everything to a Corningware container and stored it in the fridge.

When I was ready to reheat the chicken cacciatore, I removed all the hardened fat on top, and dumped the contents in a medium sized pot. I reheated it over medium-high until it reached a boil and then I lowered the heat to simmer the stew for around 10-15 minutes. Before I served it, I topped the dish with some basil chiffonade.

I used to hate making chicken in a slow cooker but now I know it’s because I always overcooked it. See? You do learn something new everyday.