Slow Cooked Lemon-Paprika Chicken Thighs
This is an easy, economical, and really, really good chicken dish. Start it around lunch time, and you'll have an incredibly good dinner with no last minute rush and hassles--at least from the chicken. Truth in posting, I started with a Cook's Country recipe and adapted it to what I had on hand and our tastes. The meat turns out moist and tender, and the sauce is savory-piquant with plenty of complexity and not too much lemon taste. Because the chicken thighs give up a lot of juice while they cook, you'll want to serve them with rice, noodles, or potatoes to soak up the sauce. I recommend tumeric rice, and I'm attaching a quick recipe below. If you want an easy, cheap company dinner, try the thighs and rice with broccoli and a crisp green salad. You'll be relaxed, and your guests will be impressed and full. But not too full for dessert!
Lemon-Paprika Chicken Thighs -- Serves 4-6
3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried thyme or about a dozen small sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 cup of lemon juice, plus the juice and zest of one lemon
Chopped parsley, if you remember it!
Trim the boneless chicken thighs of excess fat (use a pair of kitchen shears for this) and set them aside for a minute. Turn the heat to high on a large slow cooker and pour in the oil. Add the salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, and 1/4 cup of lemon juice to the bottom of the slow cooker and stir everything around a bit to blend everything. Put the chicken thighs into the mixture and turn them over a couple of times to coat them well with the mixture, ending with the smooth part of the thighs on the top. Put the lid on the slow cooker and and cook the thighs until they're very tender, about 4-6 hours on low. Zest and juice the lemon and add the juice and lemon zest to the chicken, stirring it into the sauce. Take out the thyme sprigs if you used them and serve the chicken, preferably over tumeric rice--see the recipe below. Oh, and, if you remember it, you can sprinkle a bit of parsley over the dish when you serve it! Alas, my parsley usually stays on the plant or in the refrigerator, to be remembered later.
2 1/2 cups of water
1 cup of quick brown rice (I use Trader Joe's, which cooks in about 15 minutes)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of minced dried onion
1 tablespoon of minced dried parsley
2 teaspoons of ground tumeric
Heat the water to boiling and stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring the pot back to a boil while stirring the contents. Put the lid on the pot, turn down the heat to a simmer, and let the rice cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice has absorbed most of the water in the pot. Fluff the rice with a fork, cover the pot again and let the rice sit a few minutes before serving it with the chicken.