How to make slow cooker chicken merlot

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When many people first hear of the dish "chicken merlot", they often confuse it for coq au vin, a traditional French dish that braises chicken in wine. While it's true that chicken merlot is similar in that the two both include chicken and wine, that's where the similarities end. While coq au vin wouldn't be the dish it is without the inclusion of mushrooms, they're optional in chicken merlot, and I've decided not to include them in mine.
Chicken merlot also often includes tapioca to thicken it up; and again, I've chosen not to include it in mine. What I did include, and what you must include when making a proper chicken merlot is tomato of some kind. I chose tomato paste, but it varies between recipes. That tomato is important, especially when serving chicken merlot over buttered egg noodles, as it creates a delicious sauce for the entire plate.
Chicken Merlot
10 minutes
8 hours, 20 minutes
8 hours, 30 minutes
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 pounds (1.5 kg) bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
½ cup (170 grams) red wine
½ cup (170 grams) chicken broth
1 6-ounce (170 grams) tomato paste
2 teaspoons (10 ml) brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) dried basil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
½ teaspoon (5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
Place the onion, carrots, and garlic in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker and stir to combine. Place the chicken pieces on top.
In a 2-cup (680 grams) measuring cup, add the red wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, brown sugar, basil, salt, and black pepper. Whisk to fully combine and pour entirely over the chicken.
Place lid on the slow cooker, set to low and cook for 8 hours.
Remove chicken from slow cooker and cover to keep warm. Strain sauce that's left in the slow cooker into a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat on the stove and reduce by about half. Transfer chicken to a plate and pour thickened sauce over top.
Pro tip: If you want to add mushrooms to this dish, you can either saute them while the sauce is thickening, or throw them right into the bottom of the slow cooker along with the other veggies.
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