Nobody likes to cook in my kitchen in the middle of summer. Low ceilings plus a large stove do not equal a cool, comfortable space. The grill on the back porch offers one alternative, though not a particularly chilly one, and my growing collection of slow cookers provides another. This chicken in peanut and chile sauce starts with a bit of blending to make the sauce, and after that, the slow cooker takes over. I always have boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my freezer, so that's what I use; boneless, skinless chicken thighs will yield a more moist dish. Add a couple of hours to the total cooking time if you want the chicken to collapse into shreds. Either way, shreds or chunks, you can roll it up in a tortilla with some beans and rice, and a bit of salsa.
Slow cooker chicken in peanut and chile sauce
From the pantry, you'll need: dried chile peppers, chicken stock, allspice, cinnamon, ground cloves, canola oil, onion, garlic, roasted unsalted peanuts, honey, chipotle peppers in adobo, frozen chicken breasts.
Inspired by a recipe in The Gourmet Slow Cooker, this recipe serves 6, with black beans and rice on the side.
2 ancho or New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded (I leave a few seeds in)
2 cups chicken stock, divided
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 large plum tomatoes, cubed
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 slice stale white or French bread, torn into small pieces
2 chipotle chile peppers in adobo
2-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh, cut into 1-inch cubes
Tear the chile peppers into flat pieces and place in a small bowl. Cover with 1 cup of the chicken stock, and let soak for 30 minutes.
Combine soaked chile peppers and soaking liquid, black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, tomatoes, oil, onion, garlic, honey, salt, peanuts, bread and chipotles, plus the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth, in a blender or food processor, and purée into a smooth sauce.
In a 3- or 4-quart slow cooker, place the chicken pieces, and pour the peanut sauce on top. Stir to combine. Cook on LOW for 4 hours. Then, remove the lid, stir, and taste to adjust seasonings with more salt or black pepper, as needed. (If you left some of the pepper seeds in, the dish should be hot enough; if not, you might want to add some red pepper flakes.) Cook, uncovered, on HIGH for 1 hour.
Serve hot, or let cool completely and refrigerate. Reheat before serving.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
CrockPot applesauce chicken, from A Year of Slow Cooking
Grilled garlic lemon chicken breasts, from Amanda's Cookin'
Mexican red chili sauce, from Simply Recipes
Chicken fajitas in the CrockPot, from Kalyn's Kitchen
CrockPot Mexican chicken, from The Picky Apple
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