06/10/2008

Lemon chicken with carrots

serves 12-14 people

3kg skinless, boneless chicken thighs
4 large onions, chopped
500g carrots, chopped
500ml lemon juice
250ml tomato ketchup
200g soft brown sugar
250ml water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

If using a crockpot (slow-cooker), you'll need one with at least 6.5 litres capacity. Place the onions and carrots at the bottom, then place the chicken thighs over them. Mix the lemon juice, ketchup, sugar and water in a bowl, then pour over. Season. Cook for about two hours on high, then reduce to medium or low, and simmer for around 7-8 hours.

Alternatively, you could brown the onions and chicken pieces in a large saucepan first, then add the rest of the ingredients. Either simmer, covered, for about 2-3 hours, or place in a large ovenproof casserole dish in a low oven and cook for at least three hours. Exact times depend on the oven; you could reduce the time by dividing into two or three smaller dishes.

Any leftovers will freeze and re-heat very well.

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I searched for crockpot recipes online, having recently bought the Morphy Richards 6.5 litre slow cooker. One of the ones that sounded appealing was Crockpot Lemon Chicken with Carrots at the busycooks.about.com site.

Unfortunately, the quantities given were far too small for our slow cooker - it has to be at least half full, preferably more. Moreover, frozen lemonade concentrate is one of those American things that I've never seen anywhere else. However, since lemonade in American is simply lemon juice and sugar in water, I thought I might as well use freshly squeezed lemon juice, since lemons are widely available and inexpensive in Cyprus. Not having a sweet tooth, I didn't add any extra sugar to compensate.

Nor do I know how baby carrots differ from regular carrots, if at all. It took quite some time to peel and chop 500g carrots, but seemed to work.

Finally, since I don't like the feel of cornflour-thickened sauces, I left that part out of the recipe entirely. And rather than multiplying everything by three (assuming the original served four people), I looked at what felt right. This did rather fill the crockpot more than I had expected, but it didn't boil over. When it was cooked the chicken was beautifully tender, and it was more than sufficient for the eleven people sitting around our table that evening, with about three portions left at the end, which I froze.