Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fast-Slow Cookery

Even though I didn't have to be out this afternoon, I chose to go with a slow cooker recipe - though as it called for 6 - 8 hours on Low, I chose to do it on High with the time halved ... and I got in from errands such that I started it later than I had intended in the first place. So much hurry up and wait involved in the slow cooking.

First step, cook the chicken breasts in the dressing, which is then discarded. I was rather surprised to not consciously detect any trace of the Italian dressing in the finished product, but I suspect it adds subtler notes and layers. I was surprised how fast and easy shredding the chicken was ... guess boneless helps, ahem. Had to dig into the near-very-back of my spice cabinet to find the dried basil. What don't I use very often?

Only part of this I was a bit curious about is that you're supposed to mix the cream cheese in with the liquids - only it doesn't say anything about melting them so it actually does mix, rather than hover in glops. I chose to stir the contents in the slow cooker a bit to ensure they blended - but even at that, I found a few telltale pieces of cream cheese here and there.

While the final hour of slow cooking ensued, I started on the potatoes. I really ought to get a proper lid for my skillet - using the lid of the wok, which doesn't quite fit precisely, has been a good solution, but it is a bit messy. Triumph on the garlic front: I actually managed to properly smash the stuff for the first time ... ever. (Oh, the things I admit on the internet.)

The liquid got to boiling point, then sat covered (sorta ... see above) while the potatoes cooked. The timing between evaporating the liquid and adding the oil was very precise, and in the future, I'd err on not waiting for total evaporation - I had some of my potatoes stick to the bottom of the skillet. Other than that, though, the dish went off without a hitch.

That and my screwing up the lemon proportions a bit - but there's never enough lemon for me, so I just added more.

Final verdict (chicken): This is a rich, creamy chicken. Quite delicious, but it borders right on the edge of being too faux-creamy - one bite too many and it becomes a bit gross.

Final verdict (potatoes): Quick, easy and tasty. They have just enough of a tang to be interesting, and the crispiness on the white side adds (when executed right) a nice texture.

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