Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

January: National Slow Cooker Month/National Meat Month

Our Thai friends, Nat and Jib W., were married exactly a week before us in their country. We met them through Islander’s brother, Kahuna; Jib was his college classmate at a university in the Pacific Northwest. Nat and Jib enjoy visiting Oahu whenever they can for vacation and decided to spend their 10th wedding anniversary there, too. Coincidentally, we returned to Hawaii to renew our vows on our own anniversary and were able to celebrate our special milestones with them! It was doubly fun!

We got to visit Nat and Jib in California when Islander had a conference there. They were wonderful hosts, showing us the San Francisco sites and treating us to Thai restaurants around town. Since then, they have opened a couple of successful Thai cafés of their own.

Although this Thai chicken recipe may not be as authentic as the ones Nat and Jib serve at their own home and restaurants, we are inspired by our Thai friends to make this meat dish in a crockpot for an easy, ethnic meal. Try this tender and tasty Slow Cooker Thai Chicken recipe during National Slow Cooker Month and National Meat Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Woman’s Day Specials SlowCooking Magazine – 2005)

Ingredients

  • 2½ pounds of favorite chicken pieces (we used drumsticks)
  • 1 cup salsa (medium or hot)
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • juice of one small lime
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ cup peanuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Directions

Place the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker pot. In a bowl, mix the salsa, peanut butter, lime juice and soy sauce.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Grate the ginger and mix into the sauce. Pour over the chicken in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is tender. Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour the sauce over it. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro. Serve hot with steamed white rice.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Notes

  • Thanks to the G4 Family for the slow cooker. It has come in handy for many of our crockpot blog post recipes.
  • Thanks to Lisa L. for the Thai silk background used in the final food photo above. She had served in Thailand as a U.S. naval reservist.
  • Try using chunky/crunchy peanut butter for added texture in this recipe. Also, garnish with green onions for a zestier flavor.
  • We used Reynold’s brand slow cooker liners on the bottom of our crockpot for easy cleanup.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

September: National Chicken Month

Highlander frequently orders kung pao chicken whenever we eat at a Chinese restaurant. But he finds that some are chintzy on the chicken and the nuts are almost non-existent. He prefers this classic Szechuan dish to be meaty, nutty, spicy and saucy instead of  the “very veggie-fied” versions serve at some of the Chinese restaurants. Highlander also likes the cashew chicken stir-fry from Islander’s Daddy, so based on his recipe she now cooks kung pao chicken for her hubby with his request for more substantial ingredients in mind. Below is our basic home-style kung pao chicken recipe in observance of National Chicken Month.

Recipe

(Inspired by Daddy)

For the chicken marinade

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sherry or Shaoxing wine
  • ½ teaspoon oyster sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • vegetable or hot chili oil

Directions

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, sherry, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Mix in the corn starch until smooth. Add the chicken pieces and marinate for 30 minutes. Heat a little oil in a wok or skillet. Brown the chicken and cook ¾ way through. Set aside and keep warm. Prepare the sauce.

Kung Pao Chicken

For the sauce

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch

For the stir-fry

  • 6-8 dried chili peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks green onions, diced to ¼ inch
  • ½ cup peanuts, roasted and unsalted
  • vegetable or hot chili oil

Directions

In the same wok or skillet, add a little vegetable oil, if necessary, and stir-fry the dried chili peppers, minced garlic and ¾ of the green onions for a minute.

Kung Pao Chicken

Add the chicken and heat until fully cooked. Pour in the sauce and stir until thickened. Mix in the nuts. Sprinkle the remaining green onions on top. Transfer to a platter and serve hot with rice.

Kung Pao Chicken

Notes

  • Traditionally, Szechuan peppercorns are stir-fried into the dish to add a distinctive aroma and authentic spicy flavor to the kung pao chicken. This may be hard to find in American markets because of a nearly 40-year import ban on the peppers. To add more heat to this recipe, use hot chili oil instead of the peppercorns to saute the chicken and other ingredients.
  • If you like nuts in Chinese stir-fry dishes, try our cashew chicken recipe posted on November 22 (National Cashew Day).

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu

April 4: National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day

At a get-together with our Ukrainian friend, Olga W., we sampled regional Russian cuisine, such as pierogi, borscht and Chicken Kiev. She mentioned that by adding ham and cheese to the rolled chicken cutlets, Chicken Kiev becomes Chicken Cordon Bleu. While the recipe sounds French in origin, this “blue ribbon” dish is actually a 20th century American invention inspired by European roulades and breaded meats. We baked instead of fried our version of Chicken Cordon Bleu and coated it in panko for a crunchier texture. It is a nice change for a chicken meal and most appropriate to make on National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from WiseGeek)

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts, thinly sliced and pounded to ¼-inch thick
  • 4 slices ham
  • 4 slices Swiss or Gruyère cheese
  • ¼ cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • olive oil

Directions

Prepare the chicken. Place the ham and cheese on top of each slice of chicken. Tightly roll them up, securing with a toothpick.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Make an assembly line of flour, egg and panko (pre-mix the panko with thyme and garlic powder). Dredge the chicken in the flour, then egg and finally panko. Place in a baking pan with the seams side down. Drizzle some olive oil over the chicken.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink inside. Remove from the oven. Discard the toothpicks before serving. Serve whole or slice in half to expose the ham and melting cheese.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Notes

  • Sometimes a little gravy is poured over the chicken before serving. To make the gravy, bring ½ cup chicken broth to a boil in a suacepan. Reduce the heat and whisk in 1 cup heavy cream. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little dried oregano to taste. Stir until the gravy is thickened. Spoon over the Chicken Cordon Bleu.
  • Read about the background of Chicken Cordon Bleu on the eHow and Food Timeline websites.

40-Clove Garlic Chicken

40-Clove Garlic Chicken

April 19: National Garlic Day

Vampires, beware! April 19 is National Garlic Day. While we aren’t so much fans of vampire pop culture, we are fans of the “stinking rose.” We have a ceramic garlic keeper, silicone garlic peeler, metal garlic press and a garlic cookbook, “The Great Garlic Book: A Guide with Recipes” by Chester Aaron, from which our blog recipe post is adapted.  The cookbook features “40-Clove Garlic Chicken with Cabernet Sauce” from the appropriately named restaurant, The Stinking Rose (they also have another version of this recipe on their site). Perhaps by eating this aromatic and flavorful dish, we can scare away vampires with our breath.

Recipe

(Adapted from The Great Garlic Book by Chester Aaron)

Ingredients

  • Chicken (we used 6 chicken drumsticks; the original recipe calls for 1 frying chicken, about 4 or 5 pounds, cut into pieces)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste (we used sea salt)
  • 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
  • 40 cloves of garlic

Directions

In a large bowl, toss the chicken in olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and 40 cloves of garlic. Cover and marinate the chicken for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the chicken in a baking dish surrounded by the garlic cloves. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes to cook the garlic. Remove the foil and bake for 20 more minutes or until the chicken and garlic turn golden brown.

40-Clove Garlic Chicken

Notes

  • Peel the garlic cloves with a silicone garlic peeler. Or purchase peeled garlic cloves from the fresh produce section of the grocery store.
  • The pungency and bitterness of the garlic is cooked out of this dish, leaving the cloves soft and slightly sweet.
  • To get rid of garlic breath naturally, chew on rosemary or parsley. Also freshen your breath with cardamom, fennel, a lemon wedge or mint.