First, here is a gratuitous picture of one of my favorite simple lunches; a Trader Joe's sesame bagel schmeared with smoked wild salmon (also from Trader Joe's), cream cheese, and dill pickles. Yum. The awesome Donald Duck mug came from The Christmas Tree Shoppe.
Crock-Pot Chicken Fail (Sort Of)
So, I still have plenty of the amazing bacon I talked about in this entry. I've been doing a lot of Pinterest prowling in search of great comfort food recipes and, of course,that means lots of Crock-Pot entries. I found this recipe for Slow Cooker Bacon-Wrapped Apple BBQ. It looked delicious and simple and combined two things I love---fruit and pork. Bingo. Also, it looks delicious in Chef in Training's photo. The ingredients and prep are very simple:
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/8 cup lemon juice
- 5 small apples, peeled and chopped
- 8 slices bacon
- In a small bowl, combine BBQ sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and peeled/chopped apples.
- Wrap each chicken breast with two slices of bacon and place in a greased slow cooker.
- Pour BBQ-apple mixture over chicken and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is done.
I only had 3 chicken breasts. I got a small bag of organic, locally raised chicken from Fertile Underground, a co-op in Providence. Three was plenty since I'm only feeding myself, my husband and my dad. I only used 2 apples, but they were very large ones I got from the older fruit section of Stop & Shop (a great tip if you are buying fruit for cooking---I also bought some barely old red peppers for super cheap which I took home and promptly roasted). I'm glad I did not use the amount of apples as instructed because the juice from just the two really made for a soupy final product.
It looks pretty in the Crock-Pot so far...
The instructions say to cook it on low for 6-8 hours. I was suspicious that the bacon would not get as crispy as it looks in Chef in Training's photo at that setting. I was also worried that the chicken breast would dry out. I wish I had listened to my instinct and experience. My results were far less visually appealing than Chef in Training's.
The bacon was soggy and unappetizing, the chicken was dry and there was way too much liquid. This was after cranking it to High for about 2 hours. All that really did was dry out the chicken and cook down some of the excess juice.
It smelled pretty terrific though. Here's how it looked plated up with some mashed potatoes and a veggie mix I concocted.
Would I cook this again? Maybe, but probably not in the Crock-Pot. I don't work so I can easily prepare a dish like this in a slow oven in my Dutch oven or other covered casserole. Where I may have gone 'wrong' was in making my own quickie BBQ sauce. Perhaps a bottled sauce, which contains corn syrup, would have thickened up more than my recipe which had a base of crushed tomato and about 1/2 cup brown sugar. I also forgot to add the lemon juice although that wouldn't effect the texture. If I were going to try this in the Crock-Pot again, I would cook down the apples for a few minutes on the stove top to release some of the juice. The juice can always be reserved and thickened with some flour or corn starch and added to the Crock-Pot during the last 30 minutes. Also, I would cook it on High for 2-3 hours rather than the 6-8 hours on Low called for in the recipe.
Was it tasty? Yes. In the end my husband proclaimed it "good grits" (a family saying he adopted when he married me, a girl with paternal roots in the South). It was sad that that beautiful bacon was mostly wasted in this. It did add nice flavor but I,personally,could not eat the soggy meat. My husband and dad probably did. It's not something I would serve to polite company.
I needed a nice veg to go with this but didn't feel like dealing with salad so I scoured the freezer for something I could cook up quick.
I chopped some garlic, tossed it in a large saute pan with olive oil and added some frozen cut green beans that had seen better days, some frozen corn (Trader Joe's---delish!), and some of those home made roasted peppers I mentioned earlier, diced up. A dash or two of Frank's Hot Sauce, some fine sea salt, and a grind of pepper and I had a nice vegetable side dish.
Stay tuned for an idea I have to adapt this recipe for a more successful outcome.