Healthy Slow Cooking: Chicken with Cranberry Leek Sauce

I’m first going to start out by saying, that cream of (chicken, mushroom, etc) soups get a really bad reputation for no reason. I’ve seen more blogs and recipes stating that their recipe does NOT include them and how awful they are. Yeah, they are high in sodium, but so are most soups and processed foods you cook with. Moderation, moderation, moderation. I have a few recipes that use them, and I happen to really like them. It’s very down home comfort food cooking. However, using a slow cooker does not mean that you HAVE to use them. There are so many ways to use your slow cooker to create really healthy, homestyle meals. My husband and I do try to eat as healthy as we can, and that’s tough when you’re married to an entrepreneur with a crazy schedule! I have this fantastic cookbook full of healthy slow cooker meals. The following recipe is a new favorite. The recipe calls for a turkey breasts, but, 4 lb whole chickens were BOGO at Lunds (can’t resist) so I swapped the turkey for chicken and it turned out fabulous. The best part about this recipe is that I had almost all the ingredients in my house already.

Recipe adapted from The Healthy Slow Cooker by Judith Finlayson

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 3.5-4 lb whole chicken
  • 3 medium leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 4 tsp dried Thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2.5-3 cups of chicken stock (depending the size of your chicken, you may need to add more broth to the slow cooker)
  • salt
  • 1 cup plain dried cranberries (not Craisins or any juice infused cranberries)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsely

Directions

  1. In a large slow cooker, place your whole chicken (or turkey breast) skin side up to the slow cooker stoneware.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the leeks. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and peppercorns and cook for another minute.
  3. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock to the pan, stirring until mixture begins to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt if using, and add in the cranberries.
  4. Transfer the sauce to the slow cooker, covering the chicken with the sauce. It’s okay if the sauce doesn’t cover the chicken, just make sure there is a few inches of liquid on the bottom. You can add more chicken broth if you need.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high or 3-4 or until chicken is completely cooked through.
  6. To serve, transfer to a platter and serve with sauce. I served with mashed potatoes and green peas.

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