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Thai Chicken Thighs (in the Slow Cooker)

Confession: I love my slow cooker. I’m not a kitchen gadgety sort of person, but my CrockPot I couldn’t do without.

OK, I could probably do without. But I wouldn’t want to.

I do all kinds of things in the slow cooker – baked beans, stews, braises, bean dishes, chili – but these chicken thighs in a slightly spicy peanut sauce is the encapsulates the greatness inherent in a slow cooker: you throw the ingredients in, turn it on, and by the time you wake up/get home from work/school/anywhere it has morphed into something much greater than the sum of its parts.

This morning while retrieving milk from the fridge for oatmeal I noticed a package of chicken thighs I had taken out of the freezer – the plan at the time was to make white bean and chicken stew with pesto – something that had completely escaped my brainpan when my sister (who lives across the street) offered to order Chinese food. We had to leave for playschool in five minutes, but I threw the chicken into my trusty CrockPot with a few glugs of salsa, a big knife-glob of peanut butter (which was, conveniently, already out) and a shake of soy sauce and rice vinegar. (Usually I use lime juice, but I was streamlining here – the rice vinegar was above my head, right beside the soy sauce.) You could add ginger and garlic – today I didn’t.

And voila – dinner.

I mentioned this quick formula on the air a few weeks ago, when I was taking over traffic duties on CBC radio, and had more calls about it on the traffic line than I had calls from commuters. It seems fast, delicious, real meals is an interest we all have in common.

Seriously, this is about as easy as it gets. It looks a little watery at first, but give it a chance the sauce will cook up nicely. Just be gentle with them when they’re done; if you take of the lid and give it a stir, all the thighs will come apart and you’ll wind up with juicy chunks with naked bones swimming around the pot. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Thai Chicken Thighs

8 skinless chicken thighs
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup peanut butter (any kind)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. grated ginger

Put everything in the slow cooker and set on low for 6 hours. Serve warm over rice.

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