Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I love my slow cooker

Cooking: Shredded Chicken Fajitas
Reading: The Demon and The City by Liz Williams

Today before running off to work I took the time to slap some stuff into the crockpot. And lo and behold, when I ducked back home 7 hours later, I had AMAZING and DELICIOUS shredded fajita chicken meat. This is probably the first thing I've cooked with chicken that I'd consider a success. My chicken tends to get quite dried out in the oven or on the stove top, even if I drown it in broth or oil, etc. But the slow cooker did the trick!

As a note, most crockpots or slow cookers instruct you to fill it no less than half full when cooking. Mine was barely 1/4 full, and as a result there was definitely a little browning going on around the edges. But still, delicious!

You will need:

1-4 chicken breasts, thawed
1 medium onion
1/4 of a green pepper (unless you actually like green pepper. then you'll probably want more)
1/4 of a red pepper (see above)
a couple of mushrooms (optional--I was out of these, but they would've been delicious)
(you can use pre-packaged jerk or taco seasoning, but I made my own: a couple of teaspoons of paprika, chili powder, and garlic powder, with a touch of cumin, salt, and crushed red pepper)
1 cube of chicken bouillion
about 1 or 2 cups of water

1) trim your chicken and slice it into finger-wide chunks. Don't wory if these are too big--it will be falling apart when it's done
2) chop vegetables into reasonable sizes
3) put everything in the crockpot and add enough water to just barely cover everything. For me, this was 1 cup. If you have a lot of vegetables, you might want to limit yourself to a cup or two of water--you're not making soup here.

If you want, instead of water and a bouillion cube, you can just use chicken broth instead

4) cook on low for 6-8 hours. If you don't have a lot, like me, this might be done in 6 or 6 and a half hours. if your slow cooker is full, it might take the whole 8.

By the time this was done, the chicken was literally falling apart. I didn't have to use a fork or anything to shred it. I slapped together some quick tacos with tortillas,cheese and a little sour cream.

Since I have so little free time, I like to read when I cook. It's a good way to fit in two requirements: you know, that sustenance thing? as well as my undying need to read. Today I worked on Liz Williams' The Demon and the City. This is the sequel to her Snake Agent book, which I absolutely loved. She has a rich, powerful world that lies somewhere between classic noir and urban fantasy. In her futuristic Chinese world, here's a very thin line between human and evil, which I always like (I like to sympathize with my villains). Her pacing is always very good-- you move through at a nice pace, and it's difficult to put them down, but you can always pick one up again. Williams has a lovely grasp on real characters as well as a unique perspective on fantasy and mystery. Best of all, her novels are always very tangible--I can practically taste the blood and the smog in the market places, the salt spray of the sea on the houseboat, the medicinal tang of the laboratories.

If I could incorporate one part of her writing into my own, I'd go for the uniqueness of it. I know my own stories have that edge of the familiar to them--you know, every story's been told before, right? But Williams' books are powerfully distinct, and even if there is a common storyline in there (oh, hey, a boy meets girl, or a evil attempting to overthrow good), her stories remain above the common ground. That's something I'd love to be able to pick up.

1 comment:

  1. Your recipe sounds amazing!! I am definitely going to try this one out, for fajitas &/or tacos. YUM!