This dish has been in the works for a few years. Quite some time ago, I found a recipe for Crockpot Thai Chicken Thighs which called for only five ingredients and I thought JACKPOT! CROCKPOT JACKPOT! Salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, ginger and soy sauce, and chicken thighs of course. I made it once and I liked it but I didn’t love it. I really wanted to love it though. What was promised as Thai, seemed a little more Indian to me with the chunky tomatoey peanut sauce. Nonetheless, I kept coming back to this recipe a few times per year and tweaking it, but never writing down the changes, just messing around with different Asian cooking staples. I finally decided to work this into a written recipe in order to share it with you. I’ve decreased the salsa significantly, opted for fresh ginger (always my preference) and added a few dashes of this and that to make the sauce a little more complex. Ideally natural peanut butter would work better than regular because it has less preservatives and less of an oily consistency when it melts but regular old Jiff peanut butter will work just fine. I think the end result is definitely a more complex and more authentically Thai flavored dish than what the original recipe produced — and still just as easy!
I probably should have posted this recipe long ago, but not only was I working on getting the flavors right, I also thought it might be too simple to be “blog-worthy.” Recently, however, I have paid more attention to my site statistics (i.e. number of hits on certain posts throughout the week) and it’s been very interesting to follow. The pattern is a very logical one. Weekdays people are searching for quick, flavorful go-to meals, while over the weekend people are perusing more lengthy involved recipes (Sticky Upside Down Cinnamon Rolls, Carnitas, Braised Short Ribs, Homemade Tomato Sauce and Meatballs), clicking on links to read related articles or suggested recipes. It’s true factual evidence to prove that we run at a different pace on the weekend! So since the site stats don’t lie, I’m going joyfully post this simple yet delicious weeknight dinner. I hope you enjoy!
Thai Inspired Chiken Thighs (Serves 6)
12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (2 pkgs)
8 oz. salsa
1/3 cup peanut butter (natural is best but regular will work fine)
1/4 cup lower sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice (plus more for garnish)
3 tsp freshly grated ginger (can substitute 2 tsp ground ginger)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
garnishes: fresh cilantro, scallions, crushed peanuts, shredded carrots, fresh lime juice
Clean and dry chicken thighs. Trim all fat. Place chicken thighs evenly in the bottom of slow cooker or 9×13 ceramic baking dish. In medium sized bowl, whisk together salsa, peanut butter, chili garlic sauce, lime juice, ginger, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and cilantro. Pour sauce over chicken thighs to coat.
SLOW COOKER: Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Chicken will be incredibly tender. You can shred it and mix with sauce or gently remove it keeping it in one piece and cover with sauce.
OVEN: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook for about 20 minutes, basting with sauce once in the middle of cooking, making sure chicken is cooked through — to a 165 degree temp. Let stand 5-10 minutes
Serve over rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro, lime wedges, chopped scallions, crushed peanuts, shredded carrots etc.