Monday, March 26, 2012

Crock Pot Cilantro Chicken

I got a bunch of cilantro in my CSA delivery this past week, and had no clue what to do with it, other than some vague notion that pesto is made from cilantro. But I'm perfectly happy buying pre-made pesto. Plus I still have some. So instead I typed "cilantro" into my AllRecipes iPhone recipes app, and found this Chicken Cilantro recipe, but they lost me at "saute." And again at "puree." Once I got to "hominy," I was ready to just try throwing things together and seeing how they turned out. Not only did it turn out okay, but I managed to do it all* while my husband was out of town!

*I cheated. Nana was over and kept the kidlets out of my hair! Bliss!

Crock-Pot Cilantro Chicken
2 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, chunked
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
assorted vegetables, chopped (I used 4 carrots, 4 celery ribs, 1 small head broccoli; all chopped)
1/2 to 1 onion, chopped
3 tbsp garlic, minced
2 cups rice (uncooked)
4 cups water or chicken stock
1 tbsp chicken soup mix or 2 cubes bouillon
1-1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Step 1: Put chicken and rice in bottom of cooker. Then add vegetables.
Step 2: Lightly mix seasonings with water before pouring over the top.
Step 3: Cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, or High for 2 to 3 hours.

Rookie Mistakes:
I was sloppy. I know the chicken should be on the bottom, but it was still thawing, so I chopped up the cilantro first and tossed it in, with the intention of mixing it all up after adding the chicken. Oops. Forgot. So a lot of it just got baked onto the bottom of the pot.
I also added the rice last, so when I peeked in around halfway through cooking, browned spots were beginning to appear. I stirred everything up, and it all turned out okay.

This dish might do better on low, or maybe with more water, so everything is submerged, to prevent the "toasting" effect I found on the top layer when I checked halfway through, and again a little at the end. It's even possible that two-hours on High is sufficient cooking time, since the chicken is cut into smaller chunks that cook faster. But since my chunks were still partially frozen when I started cooking, I wanted to be safe and went for 3 hours.

The Verdict:
Nana said she liked it. And she even suggested we have it again the next night, so she probably wasn't lying. (Although Nanas are known for being sneaky...)
I liked it. If I happen to get cilantro again, I would definitely use it to make this. I wouldn't go out of my way to buy cilantro just to make this though, but that's more of a vague idea that cilantro is probably expensive, and it might go bad before I got around to it, like this bunch almost did.
Unka Seesee said it was overcooked, but he meant the texture, not the flavor. Crock-pot cooking does tend to disintegrate ingredients, but with brown rice or whole grain noodles, that might be a plus!
When Hubby came home, he liked it too. Enough to keep it in our meal rotation, as a break from the Chicken Curry.

Note: **I have been informed that pesto is made from basil. Which just shows you how much more inept I am than even *I* thought!

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