12.22.2014

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken


It feels great to be back in Utah, after a 4 day trip to Chicago last week. I was fully expecting to be greeted by a valley filled with snow when I returned, but alas, Utah weather always has a mind of her own. It's been in the 40s-50s with only a Sunday soaked with rain to show for the season. A lot of Utah natives are pretty annoyed that it's not snowing, and that they might not have their picture perfect white Christmas. Me? I think Christmas is Christmas. Snow or no snow. Remember how "it came without packages, boxes, or bags?" Well, I think it can come without snow, too. Christmas is what you make it. It's not determined by the weather patterns - or unusual weather patterns, in our case. We all know Christmas is much more than the external splendor the holidays bring us (including the white stuff that covers our neighborhoods). Much, much, more. And that's why I'm not worried or bothered one bit. 

Besides, snow or no snow, there's still plenty of reasons to gather together as a family and enjoy a dinner that required little to no effort to make. This recipe is definitely one of those low-maintenance dinners that will save you plenty of time to finish up those last-minute Christmas tasks at the bottom of your list! 



There's a lot of awesome textures going on in this simple slow cooker chicken dish. We always serve our slow cooked Asian-sauce soaked meats on a bed of rice. Sometimes we go with the brown rice venture, but mostly we stick to our favorite jasmine rice. It's much easier to eat with chopsticks because it's kind of sticky and clumps together perfectly. 

Next, the soft, and beautifully seasoned chicken takes a little trip to saute-town before heading into the slow cooker. I know it's an extra step, but crusting over the outer skin of the chicken makes it so the chicken has some really juicy texture on the inside, and that awesome flavor shell on the outside. Browning the chicken in a little oil before tossing it into the slow cooker adds a lot of flavor, so don't skip this little step! 


Lastly, we brighten things up with some fresh green onions, and add the star ingredient: those buttery crunchy cashews. All these textures together meld together so well, and that sauce. OH that sauce! It's very simple, but packs a little bit of a punch depending on how crazy you decide to go with the red-pepper flakes. 

This chicken only takes maybe 2-3 hours in the slow cooker from start to finish, so it's not one you need to have cooking all day to achieve slow cooked perfection. So if you have only a few hours before dinner, there's still time to toss this into the slow cooker, and impress your family with an amazing meal that they'll all love! 


Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
makes 4 servings

ingredients:
1 T EVOO
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 C raw cashews
2 green onions, sliced
cooked white rice, for serving

sauce:
1/4 C reduced sodium soy sauce
2 T ketchup
2 T rice vinegar
1 T brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T freshly grated ginger
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes


method:
1. Make the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, ketchup, rice vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Set aside for later. 
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season raw chicken with salt and pepper, then add chicken to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4-5 minutes. 
3. Place chicken in the slow cooker. Pour over prepared sauce mixture and gently toss with a spatula to combine. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours. Stir in cashews and cook on low for an additional 10-5 minutes. Serve immediately on a bed of white rice, garnished with green onions. 

recipe adapted from: damn delicious

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