When we first introduced food to my son we were following the “Baby Led Weaning” (BLW) method in which you skip purees. There were a lot of things I liked about this concept but in reality it proved to be a little more difficult for us than for friends of mine who’ve used this method of introducing solids to their children. The idea is that your kids eat what you eat. Sounds great! But only if you’re eating what they CAN eat, which wasn’t often the case. I’d start off thinking “Oh, my son can have some of this!” but after making it I’d realize “no, it’s too early for soy sauce” or “there’s too much sugar in here” or “there are too many new ingredients here” (as I have lots of food allergies I’ve been cautious about introducing each new food). After we introduced applesauce and yogurt we realized how much my son enjoyed eating off of a spoon. At first he’d even guide the spoon to his mouth (unfortunately that particular skill has seemed to have been lost on him now). It was then that we adopted a “hybrid” method of eating. Yes, he gets traditional baby food, but he also gets finger food and adult food off of a fork. Since we’ve adopted this style of feeding my son’s been ingesting much more food (and is therefore happier) and it’s been easier for me to introduce new ingredients to him. But, I don’t have to use baby food meats which give me the heebie-jeebies.
That crazy long introduction on how we feed our son does fit into today’s recipe, I promise. What I loved most from learning about BLW was that spices are A-OK. And my baby is no exception to wanting food with flavor. When I heated up a bowl of this slow cooker chicken tikka masala for lunch the next day, half of my serving ended up going to him! I was surprised that he enjoyed it so much. (Wow, these photos were taken almost 3 months ago!)
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 3/4 C pureed canned whole tomatoes
- 1 C plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp garam masala
- 3/4 tsp tumeric
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne (or more, to taste)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 C heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
- 1/2 – 1 tsp lime juice
- Place chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, pureed tomatoes, yogurt, oil, spices, and bay leaf in the slow cooker. Gently toss to combine and coat chicken completely.
- Cover and cook on LOW 7-8 hours.
- In a small bowl whisk together the cream and corn starch. Add to the slow cooker and let cook another 20 minutes to thicken. Stir in lime juice.
- Serve over brown rice. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.
*This recipe is modified from Julie at http://www.tablefortwoblog.com/chicken-tikka-masala-crockpot/*
Alex Guarnaschelli is one of those Food Network stars that I would just love to meet. I stalk her instagram account and Facebook page to see everything she’s cooking up in the kitchen. My favorite posts are those in which she states her cravings – from bacon and pancakes, to ice cream and salad. I even follow the instagram account for her restaurant Butter. As if eating at her establishment wasn’t already on my bucket list, seeing photos of gourmet burgers, elegant breakfasts, and creative desserts makes me wish I could hop on a plane to NYC at the drop of a hat.
Two Christmases ago I received her first cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook. I’ve already shared her Breaded Chicken with Mustard and Sherry. Today I’m sharing another chicken dish. Alex titled this recipe Braised Chicken Legs with Ginger and Tomato. I’ve renamed it as you can see in today’s post title. I bought only thighs for this dish as a combination of thighs and drumsticks wasn’t available at my grocery store. I also found that the cinnamon flavor profile was stronger than the ginger. You might think it’s weird to cook chicken with cinnamon, but trust me on this one. No, trust Alex! She says:
“[My mom] edited an amazing Indian cookbook that made her revise the chicken tomato combo and add hauntingly flavorful spices like cinnamon, which evokes the sweetness of the tomatoes.”
I hardly ever cook with chicken thighs. My mom is a bone-less, skin-less chicken breast kind of girl and so that’s what I am also accustomed to, and what I usually buy when chicken is on my list. It’s easy. Because using dark meat isn’t something I’m exactly comfortable with, I’m never convinced I’ve cooked it completely. White meat is more obvious – zero pink and juices run clear. Dark meat doesn’t turn white. And when there’s a bone involved there’s usually some red/pink close to the bone which always makes me paranoid that I didn’t really cook it through all the way. I bought a giant pack of chicken thighs though, so there’s lot of practice in my future.
For this dish, I was really excited when my chicken skins were crispy after browning them. But then they get braised and that crispy skin is no more. Keeping the skin on the chicken though helps ensure that the meat won’t dry out.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Cinnamon and Tomato
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1″ piece of ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 3/4 C white wine
- 1 can (14 oz) peeled whole tomatoes
- 1 tbsp butter
- In a large, high-sided skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Season both sides of chicken with S+P and red pepper flakes. Add to the hot oil skin-side down. Brown for 8 minutes, flip and cook another 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add the onions and stir in the cumin. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger and garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Add in the white wine and cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and cook simmer 10 minutes.
- Gently break up the tomatoes. Return the chicken to the pan. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in butter and remove cinnamon and bay leaf. Serve with wild rice.
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