Friday, August 6, 2010

Slow Cooker Honey-Orange Chicken Drumsticks

It's been hot here in Albany.  Seriously, sweat-drippingly hot.  I can scarcely stand to think about cooking.  Days like yesterday make me very glad to have a slow cooker.

Dinner last night was honey-orange drumsticks, loosely based on a recipe from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook.  I say loosely because of the five ingredients called for, I only had the two major ones.  I left out the instant tapioca, used for thickening, and substituted garlic for shallots.  I didn't have a can of roasted green chiles but intended to add a dash of hot sauce.  I forgot.

I decided to strip the skin off the legs because chicken skin tends to get flabby and unappealing in the slow cooker thanks to the wet nature of this cooking method.  This was the most labor-intensive part of the meal.  I whisked half a can of orange juice concentrate (thawed from frozen) with ¼ cup of honey and added some salt and pepper.  The legs were placed on top, tossed around to coat, and the slow cooker was placed on high for a few hours.

Due to the method of cooking, my drumsticks were looking sad and anemic as they cooked.  Mr. Hungry thought they smelled rather like meatballs cooking and was surprised to find chicken on the menu.  I attribute this to the garlic.  Here they are in the crock after cooking for about three hours:

To accompany them I attempted to make brown rice. The smell of brown basmati rice cooking is so deliciously fragrant – it reminds me of popcorn.  Unfortunately, despite cooking the rice exactly to the package directions, plus extra cooking time, the rice never softened.  So we didn’t eat it.  It made the house smell good, so all was not lost. 

Good thing I’d planned on serving a big salad.  Here’s one of our favorite simple combinations.  It’s certainly nothing innovative, but the sweet, tangy strawberries go so well with the roasty, toasted pecans.  I scored the locally-grown cucumber at Hannaford for a mere $0.89!  Hooray for summer!

Here’s dinner on my plate before salad.  I hadn’t realize the rice was underdone and put it on my plate only to discover it was inedible.  If anyone has tips about making brown rice actually cook when you cook it, please let me know!

All in all this was just an average dinner.  Despite the long cooking time the chicken didn’t absorb much flavor.  It probably would have been better had I thickened the sauce as it would have clung to the drumsticks.  It was nothing fancy, but it was good enough for a very hot weeknight, and sometimes good enough is enough.


  1. here's how I do brown rice in a sauce pan..I melt a bit of butter and olive oil in a pan while boiling up the water/stock separately....add a cup of brown rice and let it toast up a bit....then add the liquid 2.5 cups of liquid to 1 cup of brown rice...lower the heat to medium low...cover and cook for 45 min.with the timer set and NO PEEKING. When the timer goes off, turn off and let it sit at least another 5 minutes before opening and fluffing with a fork. I do sometimes sautee an onion before adding the rice, and adding salt and pepper while it's toasting. It comes out great 95% of the time.

  2. Thank you for the tips! I'll have to try it that way. I think I just get impatient with the brown rice.