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Thai Peanut Chicken - A Winner for Potlucks!

So you've been invited to a pot luck. You're a horrible cook (or you think you are!) and you have no idea what to bring.

Spend about $40 on some really, really simple groceries and you'll completely wow everyone with a slow cooker dish made with salsa, chicken, spices and... peanut butter.

What?

Yes, peanut butter. That awesome, nutty smooth tasty stuff that is loved by many, appreciated by few. What is even better is that this recipe is all done in a slow cooker, meaning unless you invite passing aliens to help you cook, there's almost no way to screw it up.

So, head to the grocery store. You're going to need:

  • A large package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tall jars of salsa, make sure they are chunky or roadhouse, and make sure they are mild
  • a good handful of ginger
  • a lime
  • soya sauce (please use Kikkoman, your taste buds will cheer!)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • a couple of cloves of garlic
  • lots of peanut butter (smooth!)

Start with your empty slow cooker, into it pour only one of the jars of salsa. This should cover the bottom of the whole slow cooker and give you a nice base to put other ingredients on top of.

Next, take the lime, cut it in half - always cut limes bumper to bumper! - and then squeeze the juice of the half lime into the salsa. Take the other half of the lime and try eating it like an orange, or let your underfoot offspring that are milling about try a taste of the rest. The results will be entertaining.

At this point if i tell you to add a "squirt squirt" of Worcestershire sauce, and you don't know what a "squirt squirt' of sauce is, then perhaps you've just wasted a lime and some salsa... but if you do understand the concept of a "squirt squirt of sauce, add some now on top of the lime juice and salsa.

Same goes for the soya sauce, you need a squirt squirt, or if you prefer things a little saltier, a squirt squirt squirt. This is a slow cooker, virtually any cooking sins you commit will be forgiven.

Drop in a couple of cloves of crushed garlic, or chop up a couple of cloves, whatever works. The trick here is to get the maximum surface area of the garlic exposed to the salsa.

If you don't appreciate math, then skip this next bit.
Let's say you have a 1cm x 1cm x 1cm cube of garlic. This has a surface area of 6 cm2, and since flavor comes out of a solid food to mix with other foods from its surface, you're gong to get (for lack of a better measure) 6 cm2 worth of garlic flavor out of that cube. Let's call this the "flavor area" of that 1cm cube of garlic.
So, cut the cube in half - you now have 1cm x 1cm x 0.5 cm pieces of garlic - two of them! each with a surface area of 4cm2, for a total of 8cm2 surface area. That makes for more flavor. Cut the cube into 8 pieces, and you have 10cm2 of flavor area, get up to 64 pieces of that 1 cm cube and you've got yourself 24cm2 of flavor area. That's lots of flavor.

So when you get down to the ginger, you want to cut it up as finely as possible but not - in my mind, at least - so small as to turn into a paste. Smaller is better, as long as its still a solid. Once you have that done, throw the ginger in as well.

Take all of the chicken, every last little bit of it, and nestle it down in the salsa so its mostly covered.

Pour the rest of the salsa on top, emptying out the other jar completely.

Then start spooning large gobs of peanut butter on top of the salsa, probably 3 to 5 big heaping dollops are plenty.

Cover that over, set it on low, and be very very patient for the next 7 hours. It will start to smell amazing! DO NOT TAKE THE COVER OFF.

After 7 hours, take a pair of forks, and shred the chicken - think pulled pork, but with chicken. Once that's done, stir the pot till everything's mixed up evenly, and then put it back in low for 1 more hour. Serve it hot, by itself, maybe over a bed of rice. No matter what you do with it, you have a very flavorful pot of food that will be the hit of any potluck.

**Note - I'll update with more photos in about - oh, 6 hours!

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