Crockpot meals are always a little tricky for me. I prefer crockpot recipes that are unique and unusual, and the generic “crockpot roast with carrots and potatoes” is just not a flavor I enjoy. So when I do run across a crockpot recipe I like the looks of, I always end up tweaking it a bit.
This recipe started out as a stove-top and oven-cooked dutch oven recipe. You take a whole chicken, rub it down with salt and pepper and brown it in butter and sesame oil. (Talk about decadent.) You drain off the oils, and then put all of the rest of the ingredients in before popping it into the oven and essentially poaching the whole thing. It’s delicious. I don’t consider it to be a ton of work, actually, other than the front end bit of handling the chicken.
Stovetop recipes, however, are always challenging to do in the summer when my kitchen is an inferno. So I started playing around with doing this one in the crockpot and lo and behold! It works! It doesn’t come out quite the same as the original recipe, but it’s still pretty darn tasty! The original recipe is here if you’re interested…
Crockpot Thai Coconut Chicken
- 6 – 8 chicken pieces, bone-in, skinless
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 4 medium Yukon potatoes, quartered or eighth-ed
- 10 whole garlic cloves, halved
- 1 Tbs lemon zest
- 2 Tbs chopped/thinly sliced lemongrass
- 2 Tbs grated fresh ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 Tbs kosher salt
- Pepper (approx. 1 tsp)
- Toasted Sesame Oil (approx. 1 Tbs, optional)
1. Layer the chicken pieces in the bottom of the crockpot. I have used skin-on chicken for this version of the recipe – but prefer to take the skin off. There seems to be less fat at the end, it’s easier to deal with since there’s no flabby skin to eat around, and the meat cooks just fine. If you’re making the original recipe, you can get away with chicken pieces, but the skin needs to stay on.
2. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt. Add pepper to taste – I typically use about a teaspoon of fresh-cracked.The original recipe is fairly salty when it’s done, which I enjoy, but not everyone does. In the crockpot version, I add some salt during cooking and let diners salt to taste. Drizzle the chicken with toasted sesame oil… but not too much. This is just to bring in the flavor.
3. Evenly distribute the garlic, lemon zest, lemongrass, and ginger over the chicken. Add the cinnamon stick. You’ll see in the picture above there are two. I really like the cinnamon/lemongrass combination so I’ll often add two or even three cinnamon sticks.
4. Layer the potatoes over the chicken, and pour in the coconut milk.
Cook for at least 6 hours on low, or at least 4 hours on the high setting. If you can, cook for 7 hours on low, 5 on high. The biggest challenge I have with this recipe is making sure that the potatoes cook all the way through. (I’ve been known to finish them in the microwave.) It doesn’t happen if they’re not covered in the coconut milk, so make sure you cut them small enough to be mostly submerged. The long cooking time is also key to making the lemongrass soft… it is rather crunchy if not cooked for long enough. When buying your lemongrass, make sure that it is not dried out and yellow, and peel off the tough outer leaves. You can use either regular or light coconut milk, but I’ve found using the light version makes the sauce not as thick… in my opinion it’s not as good. The original recipe also calls for cilantro. I’ve left it out because my family doesn’t care for cilantro.
Serve over rice and enjoy!
Adapted from Coconut Milk Chicken, found on thekitchn.com.