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Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs with Dried Cherries and Leeks

slow cooker chicken thighs and couscous in a white bowl

4.8 from 4 reviews

Bone-in chicken thighs are slow cooked with dried cherries, leeks, sweet wine, orange juice and aromatic spices, until they are wonderfully tender and flavorful. An easy recipe that's family friendly and also worthy of a special occasion.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 1/2 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs with the skin removed
  • 1 large leek, white part and a bit of the green, sliced thin and rinsed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup ruby port or sweet red wine
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dried cherries (The sweetened ones are fine too)
  • 3/4 cup Kalamata olives (pitted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or Aleppo pepper)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cinnamon stick (3-inch piece)
  • Garnish
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (or substitute parsley)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (see notes below)

Instructions

  1. Conventional Stovetop Method: Put everything in a large heavy cooking pot or Dutch Oven, except the cilantro and almonds. Mix to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower to a very low simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, until the chicken is fall-apart tender. Check after 90 minutes and add a little water (1/4 cup or so) if the pot is looking dry.
  2. Slow Cooker Method Put everything in the slow cooker, except the cilantro and almonds. Mix to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  3. Finishing the Dish Remove bones, thyme sprigs and cinnamon stick. Stir to break up chicken so it has the consistency of pulled chicken. Serve over couscous or quinoa, topped with cilantro and toasted almonds.

Notes

How to toast slivered almonds: toss almonds in a small dry fry pan (preferably cast iron) over medium heat for a couple of minutes until they start to turn golden brown. Attend to them constantly so they don't burn. As soon as they start to turn golden brown, turn off the heat and continue to stir them. They will continue to brown from the heat of the pan.

Cook a big batch and freeze some: This dish freezes beautifully. To freeze, cool to room temperature, then transfer to a large resealable freezer bag, being sure to take out as much of the air out as you can before sealing. Getting rid of the excess air prevents freezer burn. To reheat, run a little cool water over the bag until you can pull the plastic away from the contents. Put the frozen chicken into a large heavy pot. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover the pot and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is heated through.

Keywords: slow cooker chicken thighs, sweet salty tangy spicy slow cooker chicken thighs, crock pot chicken thighs, Dutch oven slow cooked chicken thighs