Tangy Lemon Chicken from A Year of Slow Cooking

Only Stephanie O’Dea could make me regret having given away the only box of jello in my pantry, or have me say the sentence “Could you please get me a packet of Jell-o when you go out today?” – such is the influence this woman has over me.

When I saw her latest post “Tangy Lemon Chicken” it looked so simple, so improbable and so good that I had to try it.  I’m also trying out cooking from frozen as I find my cooker is too hot and cooks about 2 hours faster than most recipes.  I added some garlic to her recipe as well.  This is Stephanie’s recipe with the changes I made – does anyone else suffer from a pathological inability to leave recipes alone, but must instead meddle with them in some small or large way?

Tangy Lemon Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken pieces(no idea of the weight of my parts – my chicken parts I mean!)
2 cups cooked chick peas, optional(because those chicken thighs just looked too lonely…)
1 (6-ounce) box Lemon Jello powder
3 tablespoons melted margarine
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard (I used more than Stephanie, I love it!)
2 onions finely chopped
4 large cloves chopped garlic (because I seem entirely unable to cook without it…)
1 generous teaspoon or to taste of chili flakes

I melted the margarine/butter in a skillet and carmelized the onions and garlic at medium low heat for about 20 minutes.

Onions and garlic ready to go in the slow cooker.

If you don’t have time you could certainly skip this.  I did it the day before while I watched Dr. Oz tell me how to get more magnesium into my diet.  I renewed my commitment totaking my multi-vitamin as well.

Onions, garlic, dijon, and jello powder — before I decided it needed chilli flakes – Additional lemon juice made this more liquid than Steph’s original recipe.

Combine the jello powder, melted butter, dijon mustard, lemon juice, onion and garlic, and chili flakes in the slow cooker.  Stir together to make a paste.

Put the chicken (and chick peas, if you too find that your chicken is looking lonely) in the cooker and mix it with the paste til it is coated.  My addition of lemon juice was to cut the sweetness a bit – I’m not a “sweet” person – more of a “salt or spice” person.

Chicken and sauce, lonely and without chickpeas.

I used frozen chicken as Stephanie often does, as I figured this would be a good way of slowing down my too hot slow cooker – it tends to cook foods one or two hours faster than most recipes.  This also extended the cook time as I knew I’d be out for a lot of the day.  I would definitely do this again – cooking from frozen.

The most recent slow cookers cook too hot in my opinion, or at least mine does! I usually defrost as I try to brown everything that goes into the slow cooker for flavour – please note, I would not do this if I had work which kept me away from home – the flavour improvement is perceptible but the result isinsignificant if you can provide a family with a home-cooked meal while working away yourself.

Final product -note the chicken browning – poorly plated, we are currently dealing with both a sick cat and false fire alarms in our building so quality control went out the window!

Result:  A pleasantly sweet and tangy chicken, and the chick peas followed right along getting a nice carmelized glaze as well.  The added lemon juice and chili flakes gave it some bite and spice that we loved but if you had non-spicy people or kids these could be left out.  Never thought I’d find a use for jello powder!  It was the secret I believe, in how the skinless chicken achieved such an attractive golden brown colour- I think it was the carmelization of the sugar- as I did not brown the chicken!  I served it with leftover vegetable stir-fried rice…

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