I’ve been a predictable cook this month, content to cook the things I know over and over again. We spent some time in a log cabin on a mountain in Eastern Tennessee which only fed my craving to slow down and settle in. Sit on the porch, watch the sun set, wrap my hands around a warm bowl of soup. Repeat.
The slow-cooker has been the backdrop of this year’s transition of seasons. I use it all through the hot months when I don’t want to turn on the oven, but there’s something about its soft steamy sound and the way it fills a whole house with heady, hunger-inducing smells that makes me want the slow-cooker doing it’s thing all fall. And I’ve been doing my best to make that happen. For nearly 48 hours I slow-cooked local apples down into a deep caramel-color, rich apple butter that needed no added sugar at all. This week it was chicken stock that became so fragrant while cooking overnight that I had a dream I was floating in a bowl of chicken noodle soup.
Sweet Chili Chicken has a bit more happening than a bunch of chopped apples but, like the best throw-it-all-in-and-turn-it-on slow-cooker recipes it takes 10 minutes to put together. Combine ingredients for the sauce, add chicken, flip the switch on. This entire dish is a bit of a tribute to the sticky, sweet, tangy Thai dipping sauce that I ate on just about everything while we lived in Bangkok. It’s comfort food with a kick. My recipe below has a spicy bite, like many Thai recipes, but reduce the red pepper flakes if you prefer. I like this dish made with chicken breasts, which tend to get a bit dry in the slow-cooker, but are not at all dry once tossed with the sauce. Served over rice with roasted broccoli or sautéed green beans, this is a quick, crowd-pleasing dinner.
- 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
- ¼ cup Soy Sauce (sub Tamari for gluten-free)
- ¼ cup Rice Vinegar
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (this makes a sauce with a fairly good kick, so add or reduce to preference)
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 2 stalks chopped Green Onions, for topping (opt)
- Season chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper and place in the bowl of a slow-cooker. Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic and red pepper flakes. Pour sauce over the chicken and slow-cook until the chicken is cooked through, 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
- When chicken is cooked, remove from the slow-cooker and allow to cool on a cutting board.
- Whisk cornstarch with ¼ cup hot water and add to sauce in slow-cooker. Turn heat to high and continue slow-cooking, covered for 30 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
- While sauce is finishing, roughly chop chicken. Just before serving, toss chicken with hot sauce. Top with green onions. Serve over rice.
Molly and Clara have a newfound love of fountains, which they call “bubbles”. Might have to put one of these in the backyard. Should be easy enough. Right?