With summer in full swing and the beach calling me, its time to get out my slow cooker and begin planning my meals around our beach time. Using a slow cooker to make Chicken Merlot is not only easy, but a great way to allow flavors to build gradually during the slow cooking process. It also frees up your day for other activities……like the beach!
Lets get our ingredients together for this dish. You can use a whole chicken, cutting it up yourself (see the video for instructions) or buy it ready cut. **When I make this dish again I’m going to use just thighs and legs, the dark meat was fall off the bone tender and moist, while the breasts did dry out a bit.
The original recipe I saw in a magazine would have been a little flat, without the extra ingredients I used in my Chicken Merlot. Of course you can take this any direction you choose by using more or less vegetables, beans or grains in your interpretation of this dish.
When I first decided to make this dish, I hadn’t thought of it being French Country, but as soon as I opened up the slow cooker and began working on the presentation, there was no doubt in my mind that with the edition of some fresh herbs this could have easily been a dish from Provence. Comfort food without the feeling of guilt or being overfull. The added roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and onions was a delicious side dish. Of course you can substitute your favorite grain, pasta or rice with this dish.
As for the vegetables in the slow cooker, other than the celery they retained their identity and were still firm. I especially liked adding in the cannellini beans, they really added to the flavor of the dish.
If you don’t have merlot use your favorite red wine, because you’re going to be left over with a good portion of the bottle. Of course if you find yourself with a partial bottle that you can’t finish you can always freeze it in ice cube trays, pop them out once frozen and store them in a ziplock bag for when you need them for cooking.
- 1 pounds whole chicken cut up in pieces - skin taken off 3 1/2 -4, may be deboned
- 1 in large onion - cut chunks
- 16 ounces mushrooms -cut in half or three slices leave on the thick side
- 3 carrots - peeled and sliced thicker cut than normal
- 5 stalks celery - large dice
- 1 ounces can cannellini beans drained and rinsed 16
- 4 cloves garlic - whole
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 8 ounces merlot or red wine of your choice
- 8 ounces chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoons dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- place chopped vegetables and cannellini beans in the bottom of your slow cooker
- add chicken pieces on top of the vegetables
- in a bowl whisk together tomato paste, wine, stock and spices then pour over chicken and vegetables
- Cover and cook on low for approximately 5 hours or high for approximately 2 1/2 hours
- remove vegetables and chicken after cooking and cover to keep warm
- pour all liquid from slow cooker into a saucepan and reduce by half until sauce is thick and clingy
- pour sauce over chicken and veggies and serve with rice, potatoes, pasta, or your favorite grain