I had every intention of beginning this post with, "A few months ago, I pinned ... " And then I revisited my Pinterest yum board and realized I pinned this recipe a year ago. Which is just proof that I have no concept of time and good lord where did 2013 go?
When I pinned this recipe a year ago, I commented that it would be a great thing to try for my first attempt at slow cooking, should I ever procure a slow cooker.
And then I did procure a slow cooker, a Christmas gift from my dad and his husband, almost a year ago, and I developed an unhealthy fear of ... cooking things slowly.
Partly I think that's because I am not really familiar with slow cooker recipes, so I didn't know how to recognize a good one when I saw one, partly because I'm generally more a fan of recipes that have lots of fun but easy, therapeutic steps, and partly because I have a healthy fear of burning my house down.
Yes I know that you are statistically pretty unlikely to burn down your house with a Crock Pot, but I've always been a little ahead of the curve, accident-prone-wise.
This past Saturday's forecast called for a rainy half day and lots of people in my life who I count on to entertain me being busy or asleep, so I dragged my wilted Friday afternoon self to the grocery store and prepared for my maiden voyage.
Personally, I appreciated the prep work this dish required, even though I understand why the typical Crock Pot dump-and-cook approach is considered extremely valuable among the slow cooker set. What I enjoyed most about my first slow-cooking experience is that I got to do all of the things I like about being in the kitchen—chopping, whisking, mincing, peeling (well, not peeling so much; my knuckle was not the biggest fan of that part; see above re: accident prone)—but not doing the cooking myself made it feel a little bit like a magic trick. Insert ingredients, abracadabra, and presto! Dinner.
I made some adjustments to the original formula—I forgot the coconut milk, so I substituted what I had on hand, which was heavy cream. (Full disclosure: On my tombstone, it shall read, "Here lies K. She forgot one ingredient.) I also don't have access to quick-cooking tapioca, so I subbed cornstarch as a thickener.
I really liked the tenderness of the chicken and the hint of curry and peanut butter, but after five and a half hours of cooking, some of those the flavors needed a little brightness—the lime stands up beautifully (and only improves as leftovers), but a little sriracha and chopped roasted peanuts give the heat and salt a little boost. For color and life, cilantro comes in super handy.
So big thanks to Love at Home for being my inspiration! I made a big meal with very little effort, and I didn't burn down the house. Just right for a rainy couch-bound day spent testing my mental health by watching too many episodes in a row of The Newsroom.
Slow Cooker Thai Chicken and Rice
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1½ cups sliced peeled carrots (about 3 medium)
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
½ teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 teaspoons red curry paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas
Hot cooked jasmine rice
Garnishes: sriracha, chopped roasted peanuts, fresh cilantro leaves
1. Place first 3 ingredients in a slow cooker; top with chicken. Whisk together chicken broth and next 8 ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour over chicken and vegetables.
2. Cover slow cooker, and cook on low 5½ hours. Stir in cream and peas; let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
3. Serve chicken mixture over hot cooked rice. Garnish, if desired. Makes 8 servings.