Slow-cooker cooking advice (need answer at an appropriate pace)

I’m going to cook some chicken thighs tomorrow. I tend to make stewish type things based on what I’ve got on hand, and one thing I have on hand right now is some homemade tomato sauce. (Not made by my hands, I hasten to add.)

Do I want to cook the chicken in that, or will it get bitter or otherwise non-tasty if the tomato sauce is cooking all day? I could cook the chicken in broth or something then add the tomato sauce at the end, when I pull the meat off the bones.

Whaddya think?

I have never had a problem with tomato products becoming bitter in a slow cooker, and I’ve made spahgetti sauce, chili, and stew for a hundred years or so.

The tomato may darken a bit, but it’s still good stuff.

Chicken cooks much more rapidly than other meats, and my advice, even if you use the lowest setting, it to not let it go for the eight hours you’d usually plan for stew or chili.

Oh, it’s gonna smell GOOD at your house!

I think you should cook the thighs in a small amount of stock/broth,
along with seasonings of your choice.

Fill only to halfway, Leaving some meat exposed above the liquid.
This way, it will cook nicely in its own juices along with the broth
and you can turn the thighs when you add your sauce.

To prevent “bitter” tasting tomato sauce in a slow cooker,
you could add a 1/2 tsp. of sugar and a splash of balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar if you don’t have the balsamic). This will give it a brighter and deeper flavor without bitterness.

You should not have a problem. When I make something along the lines of “Sunday gravy”, the tomatoes stew for 4-6 hours on the stovetop, and I’ve never noticed any issues with the tomato acquiring any bitterness. The only time I’ve ever had any issues with bitterness was when something actually burnt on the bottom of the cooking vessel. You should not have this issue with a slow cooker.

Cooking on “low” with a slow cooker, you should be fine with chicken thighs going even as much as 8 hours. Thighs are very, very forgiving to overcooking. They’ll just end up completely falling off the bone and shredding if they’re cooked too long.

I wouldn’t add any liguid at all to the slow cooker until the end. You may have do remove some of what comes out of your chicken and other ingredients. Add your sauce later with just enough time to heat it. Or heat it seperately and add at the end. Too much liquid defeats the purpose of a slow cooker by transferring heat to rapidly and drawing the flavorful stuff out of the ingredients.

I’ve cooked BBQ pork and beef all day in a tomato-based BBQ sauce, so I don’t know why I thought tomatoes would go wonky on me. Think I’ll just go ahead and cook the thighs in the tomato sauce till they’re ready to fall off the bone (5, 5.5 hours), throw in some other stuff when I take the chicken off the bone, and simmer it all through for another half hour or hour – or however long it takes to cook the brown rice I’ll serve with.

For years I’ve used an egg to draw off a lot of the acids in tomato sauce. Used to make a huge pot of it in the oven. Open, stir in some more parmesean once an hour, put in to bake some more.

One egg in there, on slow, shouldn’t split but will slowly hard boil and the shell will absorb quite a bit of acid.

Since you are cooking the thighs in sauce, the meat will not dry out. Therefore, I suggest you remove the skin and as much fat as you can before throwing the chicken in the cooker.

The grease floating on top of the sauce is sort of unappetizing.