The only problem with Trader Joe’s (or, a new Chicken Piccata recipe)
We love Trader Joe’s. It’s our “regular” grocery store, where we buy probably 85% of our total food. They are fairly highly rated at Green America’s responsible shopper site, Good Guide gives their products fairly good marks, and Better World Shopper gives them an A- (just after Whole Foods and Wild Oats, which it both get an A). (Bookmark those sites! They are good places to check out what your favorite stores are doing, sustainability-wise!)
Trader Joe’s has decent prices on a lot of healthy, non-processed (or at least less-processed!) foods we eat a lot. They have organics. They have Fair Trade. They have nice knowledgable staff. They have some really good not-too-icky convenience foods it’s really nice to whip out when needed. They have some really decent wines that aren’t priced out of reach. The problem? They let you get all hooked on one of those convenience products, and then they discontinue it!
I was crushed to find out on my last trip there that their Piccata simmer sauce had been permanently discontinued. It was our favorite base for my ubiquitous “Chicken plus veggies plus a jar of some sauce or another equals dinner” crockpot method. It made my husband think I was a fabulous cook even though I had only spent a total of maybe 4 minutes actually preparing dinner. It had that “just right” blend of flavors that mixed with chicken and (in our case) mushrooms and made a wonderful dinner, with wonderful soup leftovers the next couple of nights. And now it’s gone.
So I went online to try to find out if I can make a reasonable facsimile on my own, also with little effort, though I realized it would be more complicated than just tossing in the jar of sauce. (8 minutes rather than 4, maybe.) I also left out the shrooms this time to get a baseline recipe. I looked at a bunch of different sources, but honestly didn’t have a “key” recipe I worked from, so there’s not much for me to link to…
Chicken Piccata Recipe (Crockpot)
Place the following in the crockpot, more or less in order:
- as many chicken pieces, boneless or not, as you want. (I’d recommend not putting chicken skin in there, though, it gets slimy and greasy in the crockpot.) I did 4 breasts and 3 large boneless thighs.
- 2-3 tbs capers
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- a couple of shakes hot pepper sauce (optional, but we like spiciness)
- 1/2 tsp salt (also optional)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2-3 thin lemon slices placed on top (or maybe a little lemon zest instead?)
Cook on low 8 hours or so. Serve over rice or pasta.
That’s it. (I should specify that I didn’t really measure any of this stuff, just sort of glug-glugged and guessed. I doubt it matters much.)
VERDICT: Delicious. Very flavorful and lovely and yummy, the chicken’s nice and tender, the capers and wine and lemon and seasonings gave it just the right little oomph. But…it’s nothing like Trader Joe’s Piccata Sauce stuff. So I’ll probably keep looking. But in the meantime–this is a pretty good substitute. Next time I’ll throw a half pound of sliced mushrooms in there as well…