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Recipe for slow cooker chicken in peanut and chile sauce


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.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Slow cooker chicken vindaloo
Slow cooker Cuban-style ropa vieja
Jalapeño nectarine salsa fresca
Slow cooker Filipino chicken adobo
Black bean and brown rice burrito

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

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


That flavor combo sounds really good, Lydia! Yep, turning on the oven in this heat is almost unbearable. Slow cookers rule in that regard. Oh, and it's easy to make this recipe gluten free, too. :-) Stay cool!

Yum. I am always looking for something besides the usual soups and stews that I do in my slow cooker.

Looks delicious, Lydia. Besides keeping the kitchen cool, slow cookers are a more energy efficient way to braise.

Delicious-sounding sauce. I'm adding the recipe on my list to try. It reminds me of an African stew called groundnut stew.

That looks so delicious! You're always making some that looks great in the slow cooker. BTW, I am loving Tip of the Day!

That chicken looks so flavorful!!!

Love all the flavorings in this chicken dish, and so funny, but I always think of the slow cooker for cooler weather cooking, not in the summer, but you are absolutely right - it is much cooler than stovetop cooking!

Shirley, the heat wave is coming tomorrow, and the slow cookers are standing ready!

Pam, because I'm a slow cooker neophyte, I've got lots of books of interesting recipes to study. I love sharing my discoveries here.

Christine, so true. I love that about slow cooker cooking.

Paz, the taste is very much like that African stew/soup. A bit spicier, at least the way I make it, but the peanut and chile combination is very familiar.

Kalyn, thanks. I'm still figuring out the best way for readers to enjoy Tip of the Day, so bear with me while I learn more about it.

Claire, it is, it is!

Jeanette, to me slow cooker (or CrockPot) cooking always meant beef stew in the middle of winter, but I'm finding it's great for soups and all sorts of dishes that we eat in the summer, too.

The taste sounds fantastic, but I'm not a slow cooker person. I'll have to rework this for an iron skillet or tagine or something. Yummmm.

EB, you can surely adapt this to cook in a Dutch oven or other heavy stock pot. Keep an eye on the sauce, to make sure it doesn't stick or burn (a slow cooker retains moisture that prevents the sticking). A Dutch oven with a heavy lid will help retain moisture, too.

This dish sounds fantastic! Any recommended substitutions for the peanuts because of nut allergies? I was thinking maybe pumpkin seeds (pepitas).

Hi, I like the sound of your recipe using a slow cooker as would like to use this more in the summer, i.e. spend more time out in the garden and less time in my stuffy hot kitchen! Just a query, are there any other chillies I could substitute? I can't get hold of the ones listed in your recipe from my supermarket, probably because Mexican food isn't as popular here in the UK. Thank you.

Maggie, I'm really not sure about nut substitutions. You can try with pepitas, but it might be that you just need to make another recipe. (And take heart; I have another slow cooker chicken and chile recipe, with no nuts, coming soon.

Yumyum, you can substitute almost any dry chile pepper. A smoky one would be good, but there are lots of Indian and Thai red peppers that would work. Remember that smaller peppers are hotter, so use your judgment about how much to add.

I wonder if this could be made in a pressure cooker. As in, OMG this looks SO good I want to make it for tonight but didn't think ahead! :) I might just have to try.

WOW! I just made the sauce for this dish....unbelievable, uber good! Can't wait to make the chicken in my slow cooker on our camping trip this weekend.

Is it 2 cans of chipotle chilis in adobo or just two of the chills that you put into the recipe? I was a bit confused.

Jennifer, oh my goodness, it is 2 chile peppers, not 2 cans!

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