This staple in my family's dinner rotation is not gourmet. However, it takes 5 minutes or less to throw in the crockpot. My family always loves it and will happily eat any leftovers for breakfast or a packed lunch. On occasion I will knock myself out for 3 hours and make something exotic and complex from scratch, but it is getting more and more difficult to justify the time and effort when they actually like my 5-minute dinners just as much, and sometimes more! As a hockey mom, a dance mom, and a webmaster, this is a good thing.
So, when you know you will need to feed a very hungry hockey player or an adolescent dancer or any other kind of voracious eater and you have very little time to cook beforehand, haul out a crockpot and a rice cooker.
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Step 1: Ingredients & Procedure
• 4 turkey thighs
• ginger -- a piece around the size of your thumb
• soy sauce -- around 3-4 TB
• dry sherry -- about the same amount as the soy sauce
• cilantro (optional, for garnish), washed and chopped
• rice -- 2 cups uncooked (see package instructions -- different rices have different water requirements)
I use scissors to open the packages of turkey thighs and dump them straight into the crockpot. If you aren't sure you like ginger that much, grate it before flinging it in with the turkey. Otherwise, just chop it roughly and throw it in. If you have the extra 10 seconds, peel it first. Drizzle the soy sauce and dry sherry over the turkey and ginger. I actually do slow down here and carefully drizzle, because flinging soy sauce is always a bad idea if you're trying to save time. After you make this dish, you'll know whether it needs more soy sauce. Just remember, you can always add more soy. Subtracting is much more difficult. If you want to invest an extra 5 minutes, you can also add in chopped scallions, garlic, and/or a star anise. The same flavors work great with chicken, as well.
Put the lid on the crockpot and set it to "Low" for 4-6 hours, or "High" for 3 hours. It is done when the meat falls off the bones easily.
Step 2: Getting the Rice Cooker Ready
If you would like your rice to be cooked and ready when you get home, set up the rice cooker with your rice and the correct amount of water before you leave. I like my rice to be freshly cooked so I plug it into a lamp timer and program it to turn on about an hour before we will be home. Press the "Cook" button on the rice cooker (it should NOT light up since the timer has not yet turned on the power) and it will turn on at the time you set it for.
When you get home, all you have to do is prepare some vegetables, and dinner will be ready!
Step 3: Eat!
Garnish the turkey with chopped cilantro if you like. My family usually skips it. Honestly, I garnished the turkey today because it looks prettier in the picture, and because it was the kind of cold day that required an herbal bite. Bon appetit!
*Leftover turkey flavored this simply is extremely versatile. The leftovers from this particular batch came in very handy with my sick kids this week -- some of the turkey flavored a pot of congee (Chinese rice porridge) and some went into a pot of soup! Congee and soup are comfort foods in our house.
First Prize in the
Crock Pot Challenge