Though the days are getting warmer and the summer daylilies have just started to bloom, I still feel the urge to pull out the slow cooker on cool spring mornings. When most of our days are swirling with activity, it gives me a sense of accomplishment to get a meal going in the slow cooker. I know that dinner will be ready later and I can focus on the boys and their needs or the endless to dos and errands and avoid the rush to get something ready for dinner at 5 p.m. when they are all standing around the kitchen telling me that they are starving.
Paprika chicken is a slow cooker favorite that is also easy on the budget, even giving us leftovers for another meal. Chicken thighs work very well and add lots of flavor to the sauce, and I sometimes include a chicken breast or two for Michael. We like this with brown rice or roasted potatoes and asparagus or green beans.
You can also use a whole cut-up chicken or just add some chicken breast on the bone. Remove the skin from the breasts and place those pieces on top of the dark meat. You want the dark meat on the bottom because it takes longer to cook.
[Updated January 6, 2011.]
Slow Cooker Paprika Chicken
- large saute pan
- 4 to 5-quart slow cooker
- large plate
- small bowl
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 large onions (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms (or white mushrooms) (sliced)
- 8 chicken thighs (on the bone, skin removed)
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
- 8 ounces chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth
- 8 ounces gluten-free sour cream
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
- snipped chives (for garnish)
- In the sauté pan, melt the butter and add the canola oil. Sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat until the onions are soft and glistening. Add the tomato paste, paprika, and crushed red pepper. Stir and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have softened slightly, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Line the bottom of the slow cooker with the chicken thighs, layering as necessary. Sprinkle on some kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper, and then the marjoram. Transfer the cooked onion and mushrooms to the slow cooker, covering the chicken with it. Add the chicken stock and put the lid on top.
- Select the Auto setting on your slow cooker and cook for about 6 hours. If your slow cooker does not have an auto setting, you can cook on High for 2 hours then Low for 4 hours, or you can cook on Low for 7 to 8 hours. The chicken will be very tender and possibly falling off the bone.
- Remove the chicken pieces, place them on a warm plate, and cover. In the small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and cornstarch. Add a couple tablespoons of the sauce to the sour cream mixture and stir. In the slow cooker, whisk in a few tablespoons of the sour cream mixture at a time until the sour cream is dissolved. Put the chicken pieces back in and cover with the lid. Cook on high for about 30 minutes more.
- Place chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the sauce over it. Garnish with snipped chives and serve.