Monday, March 22, 2010

A crock pot success, one disaster

Apparently I take the crock pot mantra "set it and forget it" a little too literally.

Since my mornings are usually bedlam, I really like making crock pot meals in the afternoon, so that they will be done around 8:00 pm, and I can just put them in the fridge for the next day. Well, at least three times in the last two months I have put something in the crock pot in the afternoon and completely forgotten about it until I wake up half-delirious at 2:00 am, smell something cooking, and rush downstairs to find a shriveled mess in my crock pot. My newest mess was my crock pot green beans, which I posted a photo of.

To make crock pot green beans, I trim the ends off of a bunch of fresh green beans and put them in a crock pot, cover with a mixture of chicken broth and water, and throw in one or two ham hocks. Then I set it on low until the green beans reach that super soft texture - kind of like canned green beans. Although I shouldn't, I sometimes throw in some extra salt to taste. I LOVE salt. If you cook them this way for 6-7 hours instead of 14, they turn out really good. I like to make a big giant batch to serve throughout the week as a side dish - my girls love them! Unfortunately, I turned my plump, juicy and flavorful green beans into green bean jerky.

After my latest crock pot misfortune, part of me wanted to just throw in the towel on the whole crock pot endeavor and go out and bury the damn thing in the back yard. But, inspired by a recipe in my newest issue of Food Network magazine, I decided to try, try again. The recipe was for "Beer Braised Chicken" which is basically a stew made up of boneless chicken thighs and potatoes in a yummy broth. It doesn't say to use a crock pot in the recipe, but it screamed "crock pot recipe" when I read it, so I chose to use one. You can find the recipe by clicking here.

As usual, I added/changed some things in the recipe. First, to compensate for my green bean mess from the other night, I added some fresh green beans in with the potatoes. The beer I used was Dos Equis Amber (since that was in our fridge). I just used one bottle of beer, then added a combo of water and chicken broth until the chicken, potatoes, and green beans were covered with liquid. On top of what the recipe called for, I added some extra dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to taste...until it was really yummy and savory. I also used plain old dried thyme from my pantry that's about 10 years old, and completely skipped the onions and the parsley.

I must say, this dish was really, really good. It definitely has that comfort food vibe, and would probably have been even more enjoyable were it a little chilly outside instead of 79 degrees. I love having a meat, carb, and veggie in one dish - it just makes life so much easier.

So, do you think they might consider adding "A crock pot story" to the TLC line-up?


  1. Nice!! My crock pot is a like a TURBO... everything cooks in like 2 hours... it is kinda crazy! Makes it annoying cause I can't really set it and forget it have to babysit it and never really know how well it will do.

    Why can't things in life just be EASY??

  2. I have a crockpot, but I'm scared to use it.

  3. Adam, I'm scared to use a deep fryer so maybe we can meet up some weekend and overcome our fears together!

    Kelly, I've never seen a crock pot that cooks in two hours. Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of slow cooking? At least you don't wilt your food like I do.

  4. I know things don't always come out right in my turbo crock pot.. I should get another one... but only nice thing is i can put things in at 1-2p always on LOW and then are done by dinner! :)

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. I heart my crockpot Lyss! I laughed out loud when I read that you forget your's is on & wake up in the middle of the night! Your green bean recipe is a slight bit PA Dutch...almost like the infamous ham, green beans & potatoes that you can find in most central PA diners.