Thursday, September 10, 2015

Crock Pot Cranberry Chicken and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

As a busy mom, I am always looking for easy but delicious recipes.  I feel like a lot of the time that is an oxymoron.  Am I right?  You are either going to have a 10-course meal that took you forever to prepare (and that probably no one will eat except maybe the dog), or you are getting chicken nuggets and french fries out of the freezer and plopping them down in front of your kids.  Or mac and cheese.  Or a microwave dinner.  You get the picture.

Without further ado...a little backstory.

My husband and I have a favorite restaurant.  It is Bernini of Ybor in Tampa, Florida.  They bill themselves as "innovative Italian cuisine."  We have a favorite dish - crispy duck with goat cheese mashed potatoes.  The duck has a dried cherry and vanilla Chianti demi-glace.  Obviously this mama isn't going to all that trouble for a Wednesday night supper with the hubby and kids.  But, I wanted to come up with a recipe featuring a similar flavor profile that A) isn't $26 a plate, B) is not solely available at an upscale restaurant at which our children would behave like the human equivalent of a pack of hyenas precocious youngsters, C) everyone will eat and enjoy, and D) can be prepared in a crock pot with little to no prep time.  Tall order, eh?

I did it!  With some modifications and ingredient changes, I was able to create a dish that brought the flavors of the inspiration dish to life without breaking the bank or taking hours to prepare.  I replaced the duck with chicken thighs. The favors of the dried cherry and vanilla Chianti demi-glace were mimicked with cream of chicken soup, a can of whole berry cranberry sauce and a packet of onion soup mix.   I have even included bonus instructions on how to make gravy from the chicken drippings.  I served it with canned green beans, because, you know...I have a 3 and a 6 year old.  I figured if they hated my recipe that at least there would be SOMETHING on the plate that they would eat.


  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 14-15 oz. can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 packet of dried onion soup mix
  • 14 oz. can of whole berry cranberry sauce
  1. Spread cream of chicken soup in the bottom of a large slow cooker.
  2. Place chicken thighs in a single layer with skin side up in slow cooker.
  3. Spread whole berry cranberry sauce evenly over chicken. 
  4. Sprinkle onion soup mix evenly over everything.
  5. Put the lid on.
  6. Cook chicken thighs on low for 5 hours or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°. DISCLAIMER: I was out of the house and mine cooked for 8 hours but was still perfect!  
  7. Gently remove each thigh from the crock pot and place on a serving dish, taking care to not lost the cranberry topping.
  8. Save the drippings for the gravy.

  • 4 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and cut into sixths
  • Two cloves of minced garlic (I cheated and used some in a jar)
  • 6 oz. French type goat milk cheese (I used Capricorn brand from Walmart), sliced
  • 4 oz. butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1.  Place potatoes in a pot and cover with hot water.
  2. Toss in the garlic.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. When it is boiling, reduce heat slightly so it doesn't boil over and put the lid on.
  5. Boil for 20-25 minutes or until fork tender.  
  6. Drain.
  7. Dump potatoes into a mixing bowl or the bowl for your mixer if that is what you are using.
  8. Add the butter.
  9. Either mash and whip potatoes slightly by hand or use a mixer at a medium speed for about 30 seconds to get it started mashing.  
  10. Add the cheese and mix some more at a higher speed.  
  11. Add the milk and mix until smooth.
  12. Add the salt and pepper to taste and mix it in.  

  • Crock pot drippings
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Small amount of hot water
  1. Pour drippings into a pot.
  2. Put on the stove at med-high heat.
  3. Put corn starch in a bowl and whisk in just enough hot water to dissolve it.
  4. When the drippings start to boil, add the corn starch mixture.
  5. Continue cooking until gravy thickens.  
  6. Serve over the potatoes. 
As you can see this recipe was kid approved!  Pretty darn awesome for a recipe that my husband was certain was going to be a flop.

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