22 October 2011

Since it's finally gotten chilly here in Michigan, I felt like pulling out my slow cooker and making a warm and comforting dish.  This is an adaptation of an EatingWell recipe.  It was originally meant for the oven, but I adapted it for the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tzimmes

9 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1 cup small pitted prunes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ large onion, chopped (or 2 shallots)
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt, divided
2 chicken leg quarters, skinned and trimmed of fat
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp orange zest
¼ cup orange juice
2 tbsp brown sugar

Place squash, prunes, garlic, onion, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, and ½ tsp salt in a 6 qt. slow cooker and mix well.  Sprinkle chicken with the remaining ½ tsp salt and place on top of the vegetables. Mix broth, orange zest, juice and brown sugar in a small bowl and pour over the chicken.

Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.

Makes 4 servings.

Tzimmes is pronounced "tsim-iss".  This is a dish often served during the Jewish New Year.  I have no idea when that is, and I'm not Jewish, but I just saw the recipe and thought it sounded good.

Whenever I see a recipe that is supposed to cook in the oven for over an hour (an hour and 40 minutes in this case), I automatically think it would be perfect for the slow cooker.  This recipe couldn't have been easier to adapt for the slow cooker.

The original recipe called for bone-in chicken thighs, but I had a bunch of leg quarters in the freezer that I had gotten on really good sale earlier this year.  They worked perfectly in this dish.  The chicken was tender enough that the joints came right apart and it was easily made into 4 servings that way.

It is important to keep your butternut squash chunks quite large in this recipe.  Since it cooks for 8 hours, if they were any smaller, they would be total mush by the end.  I have this weird tendency to chop veggies smaller and smaller as I go, so I actually got out my kitchen ruler (yes, I keep a ruler in the kitchen for situations like this!) and made sure they were all about one inch.

My mom was visiting when I made this and she loved it.  This is a warm, comforting meal with warm spices that is perfect for the fall and winter.  

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