Slow Cooker Chicken Hangi
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Replicating an old Maori cooking method.
Lacking cookware, the Maori have traditionally cooked in earth ovens.
A hole was dug in the ground, in which stones were placed and heated by fire.
Food wrapped in leaves was then settled over the hot stones and bark, leaves and wet cloths were placed around it.
The food was then covered in earth and left several hours to cook - which allowed it to steam (from the wet cloths) and gave it a distinct smoky flavor (from the burnt wood) and a specific bouquet (from the earth covering it).
This type of cooking is called <hangi> and we will try to recreate in using a (large) slow cooker.
Disclaimer: this is not something that I came up with on my own - but something I learned from watching multiple videos of people making hangi in the slow cooker.
To start: meat, vegetables and stuffing will be wrapped in cabbage leaves.
The entire thing will be further wrapped into aluminum foil and placed onto 3 made up aluminum balls that were previously half submerged in water. This will create steam.
A wet paper towel will be used as cover and the hangi will be left to cook on low heat for 8 hours. You'll need a large enough paper towel that covers the entire pot - otherwise the lid will not close properly and steam will come out during the cooking.
I have seen people use smoked spiced or liquid smoke to add a smoky flavor to the dish - similar to the original, however I preferred to leave these out - as smoked items have carcinogenic components.
I have also seen soil being added to the slow cooker in one of the recipes - yet the dietitian in me screamed <Food safety!> - so this was an easy no, as curious as I was about the end result.
Lastly: we are using chicken for our hangi recipe - although chicken and pork often get combined when making this recipe in New Zealand.
This recipe is part of the 2020 - Week 48 - New Zealand inspired Menu . Look under Menus for the other recipes of the series or Subscribe to our mailing list and receive complete weekly menu ideas with everything from the grocery shopping list to all standardized recipes in a menu, as well as an organized Order of Cooking list to save you time in the kitchen.
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