Winner Winner Chicken Dinner...Slow
Dinners these days need to be tasty, nutritious and easy to cook - Yes? That can be challenging when one is juggling parenthood, work commitments, after school activities and trying to find a moment for yourself!
As I've gone through the journey myself, I really come to love my slow cooker - so much that I have 2 and will have a couple of things on the go at once - dinner and dessert...Yes this incredible invention covers all bases, which I will share with you over the coming months as we move into cooler weather.
Apart from the time and cost saving, (and being a one pot wonder!), there are some wonderful health benefits to eating meals this way:
1. The important vitamins and minerals are drawn out of the meat and bones including the gelatin, marrow and funny bits we don't normally eat, which the body can assimilate and absorb very well (when are digestive system is working optimally). These connective tissues contain the majority of gelatin which works powerfully to repair the gut lining.
2. These nutrients are very gut friendly - providing amino acids like glutamine (for mucosal support) and enzymes, which help with digestion and are preserved when cooked at low heat.
3. Vegetables, legumes, ancient grains can be thrown in at various intervals during the cooking process if you really need to put a meal on the table effeciently - all that from one pot! By the way, the aromas are incredible too - stimulating those gastric juices and enzymes to get ready for food.
The added bonus is that the best type of meats to use in slow cooking are located at the cheaper end of the butcher window - necks, shins, cheeks, chuck, shanks. They are nutrient dense, tastier and fall off ever so delicately into your mouth with a mouthful of gut loving juices!
It's important to understand why we talk about grass fed, free range, organic meat - Yes they are more expensive but that's because the animal has been through less conventional processes in terms of what it's eaten, the environment it lived in, the stress it was under - all of these things impact on the end product you put in your mouth. You want only quality nutrients in your body - I could go on but I"ll save it for another post.
Finally, don't chuck out the leftover juices - this stuff is gold my friends! Save it to drink in the morning as a soup when you wake up, to get your tummy ready for the onslaught of foods, chemicals, liquids you are going to consume. Use it in scrambled eggs in place of milk, add it to mince dishes, other sauces....there is no limitation!
I've provided the recipe to be able to cook it on the stove top or slow cooker - so you can still enjoy this lovely meal either way.
So without further ado, I'll kickstart with a simple Chicken Curry.
What you need:
6 chicken thighs (free range or organic if possible)
1 ½ Tbs olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped or crushed
3 Tablespoons red curry paste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 400g tin of coconut milk
½ cup homemade (if possible) chicken stock or broth
What you do:
Chop up chicken in 2cm chunks then lightly brown for about 4 minutes in a heated frypan with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Remove from pan and set aside.
Heat remaining oil in pan and lightly fry onion and garlic for 1 minute.
When starting to change colour add curry paste and spices. Stir to combine.
Add coconut milk, chicken stock/broth and mix well.
Return the chicken to the pan and lightly simmer for another 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
Serve with rice or pan fried zoodles or quinoa and fresh coriander, steamed greens
FOR AN EVEN EASIER VERSION!! – Chuck the lot in a slow cooker (minus the olive oil) on LOW for about 6-7 hours or HIGH for 3 hours.