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Can you help me save this chicken dish?

Oh my. I have really funked this one up....I have been inspired by the recent enthusiasm for slow-cookers on this site so I heaved this recipe out of the vault: http://www.food.com/recipe/herb-wine-..., not great at all. The kids tried it, and they are really almost always adventurous eaters but couldn''t choke it down (I made them toast and eggs for dinner instead). I hate to throw away 3 (big) breasts, so I'll eat the damn thing myself....but, please, for the love of God, if you can recommend a sauce or somethimng that coulkd make it more palatable, I'd really be thankful!! By the way, the chicken is purple, that doesn't bother me, it's just got a very pwoerful "wine" taste which seems like it would be okay-ish...but it's really not. I'm never going to live this own down.....my kids are young....this could haunt me for forty+++ years.

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  1. Sounds like you have a similar problem to the person who put too much red wine in their slow-cooker pot roast: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/824365

    My suggestion would be similar to what I said for that person, only in this case I'd add chicken broth. I'd move the whole mess to the stovetop, add a few cups of chicken broth and some canned crushed tomatoes and simmer until the raw wine taste has cooked off, then add water if needed (in case the sauce has reduced too much), plus more of the spices listed in the original recipe, and simmer some more to blend the flavors. You may end up with somewhat overcooked chicken, but at least it will taste better.

    IMHO, the paltry amounts of spices listed in the original recipe are way too small for the amount of wine, which may be part of your problem. It looks to me like it seriously lacks balance. If it were me I'd go back to the stovetop and taste, taste, taste while redoing it. Good luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Kitchen Imp

      I NEVER waste food, everything gets repurposed in my house....this might be the exception...even looking at it makes me grumpy! Don't know if I can handle seeing it stovetop that long. (I'm mostly kidding, thank you, your suggestion is a good and logical one!)

      1. re: kmlmgm

        Well, you could always stick in the freezer until the frustration has worn off. :-)

        Maybe chop it up and put it in a casserole?

    2. Chicken salad? Shred the chicken up in the food processor and maybe the mayo would cut the flavor of the wine? Or chop into tiny pieces and put in a tomato sauce over pasta? Maybe use it in a chicken pot pie?

      1. I have one word for you: gravy.

        Light brown roux made with butter, good stock, and finish with milk or cream if you like. Sautéed garlic or thyme would be good additions, but don't go too crazy. If the chicken isn't already shredded, rinse it and cut it up small so the gravy gets in every nook and cranny. Maybe make some biscuits. If no one will eat it on a biscuit covered with gravy, it's a lost cause.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jvanderh

          I was thinking along those lines as well. What about a thick curry sauce in which you can drown the rinsed and shredded pieces? Serve with rice or naan.

        2. Let's see. There are several ways you could go with this. These are off the top of my head -- literally thinking about what I'd try myself.

          One problem may be the wine. Different red wines have such different flavors, that perhaps the one you used didn't work with the lemon. (It may just be me, but I can't figure why you'd need a half lemon in this particular recipe.) Also, sometimes I find I need to use less wine in a recipe I'm doing in the slow cooker than if I were baking it or even braising it on the stove top; so it doesn't really make sense to me that the instructions had the exact same measurements for both cooking methods. That's also a lot of vegetable oil. I never need to just add oil to a slow cooker -- and it even seems too much (to me) for a baked chicken dish. If you saute something in olive oil, it adds flavor of course. But this doesn't seem to add anything.

          Were these boneless, skinless chicken breasts or bone-in, skin on? That make make a real difference, since boneless chicken breasts don't always work as well in the slow cooker (in my experience) and can get dry and overcooked.

          You asked for suggestions -- here are some things I'd try myself. First, I'd separate the chicken from the sauce. If it's possible (if it's separated), I'd try to skim off some of the vegetable oil. If they are still in there, I'd get rid of the lemon slices.

          If you want to try to keep the sauce at all, try reducing it on the stovetop. It may be that the wine didn't get to reduce at all in the slow cooker and the flavors didn't develop. As it reduces, taste to see if it needs a little more salt or more garlic or other seasoning.

          IF you actually like the sauce once it's reduced, I'd cut up the chicken, add some sauteed carrots and (if you like them) mushrooms and heat in the sauce, to serve over noodles or rice.

          If you don't like the sauce (or have more than you want to eat that way), even when it's purple, that chicken can be used in most other ways you'd eat cooked chicken -- on a salad, put it in a homemade soup, in a wrap, get creative. Once it's out of the sauce (if you need to, you can rinse off any remaining sauce if it's that bad), you can do anything you want that can tolerate (or cover) the remaining wine taste. Sometimes with leftover cooked chicken, we do "chicken stew" which is really kind of a like a leaner filling for chicken-pot pie -- simple gravy (even made from broth with a roux), carrots and celery sauteed, peas and any other veg, then cubed chicken -- all served over toast, noodles, or rice.

          Good luck! There's always hope with chicken one way or another.

          (Slow cooker recipes can be really, really delicious -- but as you've found, the just "dump and go" don't always work well for me.)

          ETA: I had to look up "OAMC" to find that it's once a month cooking. Which explains the freezing directions before it's even cooked. I'm all for cooking ahead and reusing leftovers, but this recipe wouldn't entice me that this particular OAMC plan would give me a month of tasty meals!

          4 Replies
          1. re: eamcd

            See, I took so long to reply that I didn't even see the replies you got after I first read your post. So we have similar ideas.

            Don't worry about "seeing it" so long on the stovetop. It shouldn't take too long to reduce (and yes, I agree to add seasonings) and keep the chicken separate while you do it.

            1. re: eamcd

              You are right, wine (at least the one I used) and the lemon are just not right together here. I used a burgundy, I don't drink so I really have no business using alcohol to cook with because I don't know one wine from the next. My neighbor gives me wine that his clients make and trade with him for services. He doesn't drink either, so he gives me what he receives because he knows I cook a lot. He gave me some in the past that I used for cooking sausage/peppers/onions, which I regifted to him and he loved them.

            2. re: eamcd

              Agree on the use of chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Thighs are better, breasts are not at their best when used this way. I use several thighs, and one breast for variety.

              Probably too much red wine. Perhaps a new batch with thighs only, and no wine, then mixed with first batch, would improve it.

              1. re: GH1618

                Me too. Bone-in skin-on are usually fine, but well trimmed boneless skinless breasts just don't braise well.

            3. I'm with those who say there is too much wine in the recipe for the amount of chicken, and usually white wine is chosen for white meat. I understand the impulse to save the breast meat, even though it is purple. I personally would not fuss over it on the stove, unless you are more interested in the process, and don't care so much about the end result, which I think might be iffy. You can shred the meat for tacos or another use, or make chicken salad, or make soup and add the leftovers into a nice broth.

              For really good slow cooker recipes you can trust, and for lots of info about slow cookery, I'd recommend perusing this cookbook: Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger, c 2004.

              http://tinyurl.com/2hley2