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This summer has been absolutely crazy at our house, with one daughter moving to another state, another daughter getting married, and a major renovation (still not finished) for the kitchen. I’ve been pulling out all my easiest, quickest and tastiest recipes to try to keep everybody fed during the chaos. This crock-pot honey balsamic chicken with carrots is perfect for busy days. It’s a main dish and side dish all in one, with fabulous flavors the whole family loves.
The key to this recipe is one of my favorite flavor combinations: balsamic vinegar and honey. Add a touch of garlic and a little bit of red chili oil, and you have a subtly sweet sauce with a depth of flavor that perfectly complements chicken and carrots. Right now I’m in love with roasted chili oil, so that’s what I used for this sauce, but you can use any kind of chili oil, or substitute plain red pepper flakes. If you’re not into red peppers, black pepper would also taste great in this dish.
I like to use chicken tenders for this recipe, but chicken breast filets work just as well. If the chicken is frozen, it’s best to thaw before using so you can discard any extra water. After thawing and draining the chicken, place it in the crock-pot on one side, with a pound of baby carrots on the other side. Drizzle on a little bit olive oil and melted butter to add richness and bring all the flavors together.
After drizzling the chicken and carrots with olive oil and melted butter, sprinkle with a little bit of salt. I like to use garlic salt. After that, pour on the honey-balsamic mixture.
Here’s what everything looks like as it’s ready to bubble away in the crock-pot. At this point it doesn’t look too appetizing, but it smells amazing as it cooks. The workers remodeling my kitchen kept asking me what smelled so good!
Cook on high for about 3 hours, or on low for 6 hours. The last hour or so, remove the crock-pot lid to evaporate excess water and concentrate the sauce. By the end of the cooking time, the chicken will be browned on the edges, and the honey-balsamic sauce will develop a beautiful caramelized flavor.
I like to serve the chicken and carrots with garlic mashed potatoes. You could serve it with polenta for a more Italian vibe, or try noodles, rice or couscous. This recipe could easily become one of your go-to dishes when life gets hectic. It’s been a huge hit with my family this crazy summer!
- 12 chicken tenders or 4 chicken breast halves
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon hot chili oil, or substitute 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound baby carrots
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt, or substitute kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- Thaw the chicken, if frozen. Trim fat and tendons, and discard excess water.
- Mix the balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic and chili oil in a small bowl or measuring cup, and set aside.
- Place the chicken on one side of a crock-pot or slow cooker, with the carrots on the other side.
- Drizzle the chicken and carrots with olive oil and melted butter. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Pour the balsamic mixture over all.
- Cook in the crock-pot on high for about 3 hours or on low for about 6 hours. During the last hour of cooking, turn the heat up to high and remove the lid to allow excess water to evaporate.
- Serve the chicken and carrots with potatoes, polenta, noodles, rice or couscous.