Simple Slow Cooker Recipe :: Autumn Herbed Chicken

Something I love about Fall is all the warm, comfort food recipes! I found this one on my iCookbook app on my Windows 8 computer. The app is also available on iPhones, iPads and Android phones. The app itself is really neat, full of good recipes that you can search for by ingredient, dish type, and more.
pinable chicken1
This one was called Autumn Herbed Chicken with Fennel and Squash. Personally, I’ve never cooked with fennel so I was quite intrigued as to how it would taste and let me tell you it was DELICIOUS! So here is the recipe and I’m going to walk you through a few things that I did for those of you who may be beginner cooks and feel intimidated by some of these ingredients or instructions. (I know I was a little intimidated but soon realized it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be!)

AUTUMN HERBED CHICKEN WITH FENNEL AND SQUASH

3 pounds chicken thighs
Salt and black pepper, to taste
All-purpose flour, as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider or juice
Cooked rice or pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely minced

1. Season chicken on all sides with salt and pepper, then lightly coat with flour. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat until hot. Brown chicken in batches to prevent crowding. Brown on each side 3 to 5 minutes, turning once. Remove with slotted spoon. Transfer to CROCK-POT® slow cooker.
2. Add fennel, squash and thyme. Stir well to combine. Add walnuts, if desired, broth and cider. Cover; cook on LOW 5 to 7 hours or on HIGH 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours.
3. Serve over rice or pasta and garnish with basil and fresh rosemary.

Sounds decently simple right? By the way this only took me about 20 minutes to prepare! So here’s a few things that I did while preparing this dish:

1) I only did 2 chicken thighs at a time in my skillet since they were pretty big. If you get the oil hot before putting the thighs in the skillet, it doesn’t take much time at all to cook each side. I also had the crockpot right next to the stove so I could transfer each thigh directly into the crockpot once they were done. Also, make sure to keep the heat on MEDIUM, not low or high. This is key!

fried chicken thigh

2) I actually cut up the butternut squash while each chicken batch was cooking. This meant going back and forth between cutting squash and flipping chicken, but this way the chicken wasn’t sitting forever waiting for me to finish cutting the squash and fennel.

3) When cutting the butternut squash, cut the skinny top half off and keep the round bulbous half. Then cut the round half into another half and scoop out the seeds. After that, peel the skin and cut in slices, and then cubes.
sliced butternut squash
4) Unfortunately I forgot to buy thyme at the store! So we had to do without, but it still tasted yummy! So if you don’t have dried thyme at home, don’t fret. You won’t ruin your dish! :)

5) We also went without walnuts because I have recently developed a nut allergy. I was bummed because I really like the walnut taste but better to be safe than sorry!

6) After adding the vegetables, I added the apple cider and chicken broth. You could add apple juice instead if you don’t have apple cider.

DSC_0834

7) Lastly, I kind of got started with this late in the day so it didn’t all get into the crock pot until 2 pm. I was a little nervous about putting it on HIGH because last time I did that for a different dish it ended up burning! But this time around I made sure to watch it really well and it ended up being completed by 5:30. The chicken was perfectly tender and cooked well. The squash and fennel weren’t mushy but were definitely cooked through. So I would say if you do it on HIGH just keep an eye on it after about 3 hours at the most.

8) We had our dish over rice and didn’t mince the rosemary but placed it directly on the chicken and it tasted amazing! I would think maybe an egg noodle or linguine noodles might taste good with it too, but I’m personally a huge fan of rice with squash.
DSC_0837

So there you have it! A super simple and quick to prepare fall comfort dish! This will definitely be a staple in our house in the fall going forward.

Do you have any fall recipes that your family enjoys each year? Please feel free share them in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. Nancy, That looks so yummy!! What a great slow cooker meal!

  2. If I wanted to make this on the stove top aka. in the moment (as it looks delicious and I dont have a slow cooker in my little apartment) can you recommend some cooking times and tips? Thanks!

  3. Sarah good thinking! Since I haven’t tried this particular recipe on a cooktop or in an oven, these are just recommendations; however if you cook them on a stove top, I’d recommend keeping the heat low to medium so as not to burn the chicken thighs as well as having a cover on the pan and checking them every so often to see if you need to flip them. This may take a while and a lot of attention so the other thing you could try is brown the chicken first just like for the crock pot recipe and then place the thighs and vegetables in a casserole dish covered with foil at 350 degrees. I would say you probably wouldn’t need as much cider or chicken broth either or it could make the squash and fennel mushy, but I’m not sure about that. It might be something you’d have to adjust after trying it once or twice. This would then probably need to be cooked for about 45 minutes to an hour. If you have a meat thermometer it really helps to determine if the chicken is done or not. Chicken thighs should reach at least 165 degrees to be considered done according to USDA standards. If you used boneless thighs, you shouldn’t have to cook it nearly as long. If you do try this method please let me know how it works and if there are any tips you can pass along! Thanks for your comment too. :)

  4. Also do any of our other readers have some tips for Sarah? I’m always open to other suggestions!

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