SLOW COOKER APRICOT CHICKEN & 2018 GÉRARD BOULAY SANCERRE “CHAVIGNOL”

I love recipes that are easy to assemble and prepare.  Minimum prep time, and then if the dish can be consigned to a slow cooker, we are in “home run” territory!  This chicken dish not only packs wonderful flavor, it is so easy that it is almost embarrassing!  In fact, it rates an 8.7 on the “embarrassment scale!”  To put that into context, making plain Jell-o rates a 9.5 – it misses a perfect 10 because sometimes opening the contents packet can prove a vexing exercise.  The dish itself is a perfect “transitional” dish, i.e. winter is long gone, and true warm weather is still in the nearing horizon.

Gérard Boulay Sancerre “Chavignol” ’18 (Loire, France)
Of the 9ha owned by Gérard Boulay, 8 of the hectares are on the slopes of Chavignol on Kimmeridgian or “terre blanche” soils (similar to the soils in Chablis), which he works manually and has farmed organically since 1990. Overall, Gérard Boulay’s “terre blanche” vineyards produce some of the most distinctive and soil-inflected Sauvignon Blancs in the Loire, with a delineation and minerality often reminiscent of a top Chablis. The 2018 Chavignol offers classic gooseberry and lime zest aromas mingle with notes of minty herb, stone, almond and white flowers. On the palate the wine is pure with a solid core of fruit, excellent focus, racy acidity and a long, mouth watering finish.

SLOW COOKER APRICOT CHICKEN

Ingredients
6 ounces of Tanqueray Gin
½ ounce of Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
1 tsp olive oil
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup dried apricots, halved

Apricot chicken prepped and in the slow cooker

Directions
1. Put gin and vermouth into a glass pitcher, fill with ice, stir vigorously while incanting, “You who know all, thank you for providing us juniper and all the other obscure ingredients responsible for creating this sacred liquid!” Strain into a pre-frozen Martini glass of admirable size.  Skewer the olives on one of those tacky cocktail swords, place in glass. Immediately begin consuming.  Now you can begin the food prep, and the cooking!

2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat

3. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.  Add to pan and cook 5-6 minutes, until browned, turning once.

4. Combine chicken broth, lemon zest and juice, mustard, garlic and thyme in the slow cooker and whisk to combine. 

5. Add onions, apricots and seared chicken thighs to the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours

6. Look frazzled and be sure to tell everyone how long you fussed and  labored over making this dish

n.b. Rice or coucous is the “natural” side dish.  A perfect for landing place for the sauce!  Shredded hash brown potatoes would also do the job! 

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