Book Review: Whole30 Slow Cooker

This new cookbook from Melissa Hartwig features many quick and easy recipes sure to become fast favorites that you will make again and again whether on a Whole30 or not because they will save you time and they taste good! These recipes were created for use in a slow cooker and/or instant pot so you can fix and forget them as you go about your day and have dinner waiting for you. If you choose the slow cooker, the delicious smell of dinner will greet you, if you choose the instant pot options, the beauty is dinner can be done in no time which is great for when you forgot to prep ahead or if you just prefer the benefits of pressure cooking. In the week since I’ve had this cookbook, I’ve made half a dozen of the recipes and all of them have been amazing! The only critique I have is that some recipes have had a little more liquid than I like, but that’s not a problem - it left flavorful extra to create a soup for lunch for me the next day. You can check my instagram feed for another recipe (Pork Tenderloin with Butternut Squash) as well as pictures of other recipes I’ve made. Today, I’m sharing Bacon-Mushroom Chicken with Sweet Potatoes courtesy of the publisher and Melissa Hartwig.

Bacon-Mushroom Chicken with Sweet Potatoes (c) Ghazalle Badiozamani.jpg.jpg

BACON-MUSHROOM CHICKEN WITH SWEET POTATOES excerpted from The Whole30 Slow Cooker© 2018 by Melissa Hartwig. Photography © 2018 by Ghazalle Badiozamani Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Crisp-cooked and crumbled bacon provides a smoky, salty counterpoint to the sweetness of the mashed potatoes in this dish. Look for Whole30-compliant bacon at natural-foods grocery stores—it won’t contain added sweeteners, nitrates, nitrites, gluten, lactose, or MSG.

SERVE 6

PREP: 30 minutes

SLOW COOK: 6 hours (low) or 3 hours (high)

TOTAL: 6 hours 30 minutes

1 cup Whole30-compliant chicken broth or Chicken Bone Broth (see Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth)

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed and halved lengthwise (about 1 pound total)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon black pepper

12 small bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed

3 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms

½ cup chopped red onion

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

3 strips Whole30-compliant bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

Fresh thyme leaves (optional)

• IN a 6-quart slow cooker, combine the chicken broth and garlic. Place the potatoes, cut sides down, in the cooker. In a small bowl, combine the dried thyme, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the pep-per. Place half the chicken thighs, meaty sides up, on the potatoes. Sprinkle with half the thyme mixture. Repeat with remaining chicken and thyme mixture. Add the mushrooms and red onion to the cooker in an even layer.

• COVER and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 3 to 3½ hours. Remove the chicken and potatoes from the cooker. When cool enough to handle, remove the potato skins. Place the potato flesh in a medium bowl; add the coconut oil and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes until smooth.

• SERVE the chicken and vegetables with the mashed potatoes and drizzle with the cooking liquid. Top the servings with bacon and, if desired, fresh thyme.

INSTANT POT CHICKEN BONE BROTH

MAKES 8 CUPS

PREP: 15 minutes

CLOSED POT: 1 hour 40 minutes

TOTAL: 1 hour 55 minutes

Carcass from a roasted 3- to 4-pound chicken

2 carrots, roughly chopped

3 stalks celery, roughly chopped

2 onions, roughly chopped

5 or 6 sprigs fresh parsley

1 sprig fresh thyme

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

10 whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt

• IN a 6-quart Instant Pot, place the carcass, carrots, celery, onions, parsley, thyme, vinegar, pepper-corns, and salt. Add enough water to reach 1 inch below the maximum fill line. Lock the lid in place.

• SELECT Soup/Broth. Use natural release.

• STRAIN the broth through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl or clean pot. Discard the solids. Transfer the broth to multiple containers to speed up cooling—don’t freeze or refrigerate it while it’s hot! Allow the broth to sit in the fridge, uncovered, for several hours, until the fat rises to the top and hardens. Scrape off the fat with a spoon and discard it.

• REFRIGERATE the broth in airtight containers for 3 to 4 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

TIP: A properly prepared bone broth might look a little jiggly when cold. That’s just the gelatin from the collagen in the bones. When ready to use the broth, gently heat it and it will return to a liquid state.