When I received an S.O.S. comment on Facebook from one of my favorite readers, Maribel, I put on my thinking cap and went straight into action.
With Christmas Eve approaching in just a wink of an eye, Maribel commented that she was in need of a recipe that had enough style to impress at the holiday dinner table.
But there was one condition. The main dish had to be cooked in a slow cooker.
See Maribel doesn’t have an oven. No, I don’t know why—I’m fantasizing it’s because she’s either in the midst of an amazing kitchen remodel or lives in a teepee fashioned with an es long extension chord to a chugging generator or possibly just doesn’t believe in the clutter an oven adds to her kitchen?
While I do have several slow cooker recipes I almost suggested to her—My Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup and my Slow Cooker Pork Posole Stew almost slipped from my lips—I decided coming up with a new slow cooker recipe was a challenge I was ready to take on.
I am here to serve.
My husband actually wheedled down, and out, my list of recipe ideas and nailed the idea of this Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken. While I’m usually averse to cooking a slow cooker meal when it takes browning and dirtying more pans than just the beloved slow cooker, this time I caved to my husband and his browning suggestion for the sake of flavor. And my, my. It is totally worth that extra pan to wash.
A few recipe notes:
After a quick batch of chicken browning, everything goes into the slow cooker pot. Cooking for just 3 to 3 ½ hours keeps the chicken juicy and sweetened up thanks to that lovely sauce. Be sure to check the doneness depending on your own slow cooker’s cooking habits.
I used frozen white pearl onions both for flavor (I love the sweet flavor burst of cooked onion with each bite) but if you can’t find them, substitute 1 medium size yellow onion thinly sliced or even the white part of one or two leeks to give a mild but delicious onion flavor.
If the balsamic sauce is a little too pungent for you, add another tablespoon or two of brown sugar to the hot sauce to sweeten it up. It’s all up to your taste buds.
Aaand, one you’ll have one more pan to wash. This is totally my husband’s idea. After the chicken is finished cooking, reduce the balsamic sauce by half, add some butter and you’ll create a smooth and succulent balsamic sauce worthy of any entertaining meal. My man had this epiphany after I’d taken photos, so the sauce isn’t shown here.
Serve the chicken over rice or noodles. Even mashed potatoes would make it shine.
Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken
- 8-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 16 ounce package frozen white pearl onions
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms quartered
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 2 stems fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley leaves torn or chopped
- Season chicken thighs with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and brown thighs in batches for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Layer the pearl onions, button mushrooms, garlic, fresh rosemary and bay leaf in the bowl of a 6 quart slow cooker. Add the browned chicken to the slow cooker bowl. Mix the balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, tomato paste and brown sugar in a medium bowl or a 4 cup measuring cup and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken and cook on high for 3 hours, testing for doneness and cook another 15 minutes to a half hour until chicken is no longer pink.
- Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and cover with a lid or foil. Separate the liquid from the vegetables, and add the vegetables to the chicken. Add the liquid to a sauce pan and cook over medium heat, at a low boil, for about 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Add the butter and whisk until melted and sauce has thickened.
- Garnish the chicken with pomegranate seeds and parsley and serve immediately with rice, mashed potatoes or other grain and balsamic sauce.
Good luck Maribel! Maybe Santa will bring you a new slow cooker to celebrate more merry meals.
Maribel shared she recently moved to Costa Rica where her kitchen is absent of an oven. Her crockpot is now hard at work.
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What’s the proteins and
Cal’s content please?
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
Hi Jane, I don’t provide full nutritional content for each of my recipes because of difference in brands used, etc. Try using a calculator such as MyFitness Pall or online to add up the nutrition information.
I just can’t buy a slow cooker, so…..how long to cook and what temp in oven?
Sounds too delicious to miss.
Any adjustments for using boneless skinless breasts?
What would the time be for cooking this on low instead of high?
Just tried this today and it was SO delicious, thank you for sharing this recipe!
I do have a question: while the chicken did taste like heaven, I felt that the mushrooms and onions were a little overpowered by the vinegar sauce. Do you have any suggestions?
I’d say the next time you make it add less vinegar. Enjoy!
I am finally going to make use of my slow cooker this year, and this looks amazing! But I have a specific question for this recipe – my boyfriend recently developed a deadly allergy to mushrooms! It’s so difficult, because not only are they delicious, but they are in EVERYTHING. Do you have any suggestions for this, and other recipes, to substitute for the mushrooms and still give that depth of flavor?
If I used chicken breasts how long would it need to cook in a crock pot?
Would you make any modifications if using bone-in chicken thighs? I bought the wrong thing for this recipe…
Hi Cathy, the cooking time might be adjusted slightly because bone-in chicken cooks more slowly than boneless. I’d add another 5-10 minutes of cooking time to the recipe, and because thighs overall are more juicy than breasts, I think you’ll still be safe. Let me know how it goes!
Since my husband died (back in 2004, no less) I’ve been a fairly disinterested cook. A friend of mine introduced me to slow cooking, which is perfect for me. This recipe looks very good and I want to try it soon, but I think I might substitute the chicken thighs for breasts, which I realize cook differently. With the help of another friend of mine, a very experienced (and gifted) cook, I can make the change work – fingers crossed!
How did this work out with breasts? Did you have to adjust the cooking time or perhaps the temperature (Low vs. High)?
This is on my dinner lineup this week! Can you please tell me how to convert this if I was to bake it in the oven? Thanks for sharing this good looking recipe!