I’d never used a crockpot before last month. *gasp* When I moved Stateside, one of the first things I set my sights on was AJ’s. I have issues with the food in America: if it isn’t restaurant quality (and I mean the sort of restaurant where they make stuff from scratch with actual ingredients rather than the sort of restaurant where they serve you plastic food-ish through your car window) then I become a very sick puppy. As I’m mostly pathetic when I’m feeling sick, it’s for the good of everyone (and my bank account) I make my own food.
Enter the crockpot. It promises so many things. Delicious, healthful, simple (cheap!) meals, thrown in early and forgotten about until my stomach’s ready to digest itself. Om-nom-nom.
Except, of course, that’s not quite how things went. The crockpot has a learning curve I wasn’t expecting, and some online recipes flat-out LIE.
First, there was a slow cooker pot roast. It was yummy. If you like pepper. Seriously, if you use cracked black pepper in a six-hour crockpot recipe, for the love of god reduce the amount by at least 75%. Otherwise, give it a whirl. It was delicious. 8/10
My next attempt was slow cooker broccoli beef. I liked the Chinese slant it promised, I like beef, I like broccoli. My big mistake was assuming that I could shove the broccoli on top of the meat and sauce and it would gently steam over a course of four hours or so. My second mistake was going to the bank towards the end of that time and leaving it more like five hours. Ladies and gentlemen, burnt broccoli tastes awful. Even more so when you’re trying to convince the children it tastes all right so they eat it because you’ve nothing else in to give them for dinner.
In my defence, I have to say the recipe sauce itself didn’t taste that great either. 1/10
Then there was the crock pot cola ham. This came about because I’d heard that ham cooked in Coke (no roller cola in this house!) was the schniz but I’d never tried it. Two supermarkets, one small ham ($13!!!), and a bottle of the real thing later, we were good to go. AJ had a ball gently massaging the meat with a mixture of Coleman’s mustard and brown sugar (pro tip: pat not rub or it’ll fall off), we doused it in Coke and forgot about it. And forgot about it. And forgot about it.
AJ went to bed for a late-afternoon nap and I suddenly remembered there was ham on the go. I turned it down, figuring she’d reappear eventually. Eventually became two hours later, by which point I’d rescued the ham but alas, too late. it was more like dry pulled pork although I can report the bits that had been immersed in Coke for the duration were yummy. 5/10 and entirely our fault it wasn’t as good as it should have been.
In between these disasters AJ managed to whip up a delicious chilli (the recipe is a closely-guarded secret so sorry, no sharing), setting the bar just a little bit higher than I’d have liked. Then I struck gold: a crock pot chicken korma to die for. You’re welcome.
Kate’s Chicken Korma
- 2 pounds skinless chicken breasts or boneless thighs (about 4), cubed
- 1 chopped medium yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons finely-chopped fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or red pepper flakes)
- 4 cloves garlic (fresh or powdered)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 (14.5oz) can light coconut milk (can substitute fat-free plain yoghurt)
- 1 zucchini, sliced (optional)
- 4 cups rice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish
- Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, add chicken and cook until lightly browned (approx. 8min)
- Remove chicken from pan and place in slow cooker
- Add onion to pan and cook until softened (approx. 3min)
- Add ginger, curry powder, coriander, cumin, red pepper, and garlic to onions, cook another 2 mins
- Pour onions over chicken and stir
- Stir in tinned tomatoes (don’t drain) and coconut milk
- Add bay leaves and cinnamon stick, stir well, season with salt
- Cover and cook on low for 6 hours (add zucchini after 5 hours, if including)
- After six hours, remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick
- Turn slow cooker off, let stand for 15 mins
- Serve over rice with chopped cilantro to garnish