I do love my slow cooker.
A new cinema opened in our general area a few months ago. It plays first-run and art-house movies, and it does matinées every weekday afternoon. It has become our primary place to go to a movie with friends, also retired, who, like us, prefer the matinées. But here’s the rub: our friends live 22 km (13 miles) south of us, and the theatre is another 20 km (12 miles) south of their house. Realistically, this means that the post-movie dinner is always at our friends’ house, which means they are always doing the cooking. We could go out, but its difficult and frustrating for BD with his allergies.
This week (the movie was Bridge of Spies, by the way, which was excellent), I said ‘enough – I’ll cook.’ Then, of course, I had to come up with something that was easily portable and could be left over the afternoon. And as I know my friends’ fridge is always full to overflowing, that really only left me with the option of a slow cooker meal. So I wandered around on the internet for a while, found a few similar recipes, modified them for BD’s allergies – and here is what we had. It was really good and very easy. You may need to adjust the spicing to suit yourself; this is fairly mild to suit our friends’ palates. It cooked on a low setting from about nine in the morning to about seven at night, except for the half-hour we were driving.
Slow Cooker Cajun Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet
3 spicy turkey sausages cut into 1/2-inch slices
6 skinned and boned chicken thighs (about 2 1/4 lb.), sliced into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 /2 medium onion, chopped
1 medium-size bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 c frozen lima beans
1 14 1/2-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 8oz package frozen chopped spinach
1 Tbsp celery seed
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1/2 c safflower oil
2 Tbsp flour
Cook sausage in a large cast-iron frying pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippngs.
Sprinkle chicken with celery seed. Cook chicken in hot drippings over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken. Add onion, pepper and garlic to pan, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until onion is tender.
Add tomatoes, lima beans, spinach, salt and cooked ingredients to slow cooker. Using the oil and flour, make a roux to thicken the chicken broth. Add the thickened chicken broth to the other ingredients; add the Cajun seasoning. Cook in a slow cooker on low all day. Serve with good crusty bread and a salad.
Cajun Spice Mix
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)