While it's true that Rival invented the Crock-Pot®, back in 1971, the company didn't invent slow cooking. Clay pots, tagines and Dutch ovens all predate the electric slow cooker. This chicken and white bean stew springs from the French farmhouse tradition of slow cooking in a pot set into the fireplace. Today, thanks to an inexpensive piece of kitchen equipment (the slow cooker I used for this recipe cost less than $20), I can make stew without hauling in wood, building a fire, raking the embers, and lugging a heavy cast-iron Dutch oven from the kitchen to set into the hearth. Lemon and garlic create the flavor base for this healthy, naturally gluten-free stew, which, like most stews, tastes even better the second day.
Slow cooker lemon-garlic chicken and white bean stew
Inspired by a recipe in Skinny Slow Cooker, a Better Homes & Gardens magazine. Serves 8.
2 medium onions, peeled and cut in quarters
12 large cloves garlic, peeled, ends trimmed but left whole
1 large red bell pepper, cut into large dice
2 tsp dried thyme leaf or 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 cup homemade (or low-sodium store-bought) chicken broth
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Juice of 1/2 lemon
14-oz can small white beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp cornstarch
In a 4-quart slow cooker, place the onions, garlic, bell pepper, thyme, lemon zest, black pepper and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Place the chicken thighs on top.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours, stirring once or twice. Then, add the lemon juice and beans. Cook for 20 minutes more.
Remove the chicken, beans and vegetables from the slow cooker into a large bowl; cover with foil to keep warm. In a small measuring cup, whisk the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water until smooth, then add the mixture to the liquid remaining in the slow cooker. Stir well, cover, and cook on HIGH for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Return the chicken, beans and vegetables to the slow cooker, and stir to combine with the sauce.
Serve hot, over brown rice or noodles. (The stew can be refrigerated for several days, during which time it gets better and better, or it can be frozen.)
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Slow cooker Filipino chicken adobo
Slow cooker chicken vindaloo
Slow cooker chicken in peanut and chile sauce
Slow cooker green chile chicken
Slow cooker beef stew with potatoes, parsnips and rutabaga
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Lemon garlic chicken wings, from Cooking... by the Seat of Our Pants
Chicken souvlaki, from Kalyn's Kitchen
The Angry Chef's garlicky lemon-pepper chicken, from The Hungry Mouse
44-clove garlic (and chicken) soup, from Gimme Some Oven
Maple glazed chicken with roasted garlic and lemon puree, from The Left Over Queen