This is a no-fuss dish is one that we refer to as homemade take-out. It's a bit of an oxymoron I know, but, many of our favorite take out dishes can be prepared in a family-style version at home. This slow cooker chicken isn't breaded and fried, so it's lighter; at the same time it hits all of the same flavor points. In this recipe, I'll give you 3-methods for cooking the vegetables so you can choose which technique suits your schedule and taste the most.
2 1/2-3 lb boneless skinless chicken, cut into chunks
1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or canned, drained
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium green bell pepper,cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp honey or brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp Chinese 5-Spice powder [see cook's note]
1 tsp fresh minced ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp red pepper flakes [more or less to taste]
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
cooked jasmine/basmati rice for serving
Directions: Fix it & Forget it:
Spray the inside of a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Arrange the chopped vegetables on the bottom of the slow cooker.
Arrange the chicken and pineapple chunks on top. Whisk together the sauce ingredients. Pour on top of the chicken and pineapple.
Cook on low for 5 hours or until the chicken is fork tender and cooked through. Increase the slow cooker to the high setting. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold water. Whisk into the sauce until thickened. Simmer on high for 10-15 additional minutes. Serve over rice. Yield: 6-8 servings
To add Vegetables at the end of Cooking:
Omit the vegetables at the beginning of preparation.
a) Cook the chicken and pineapple in the slow cooker with the sauce as directed. Add the vegetables during the last 1 hour of cooking. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch and water per the recipe, before serving.
b) Alternatively, stir-fry the bell peppers and onion in a couple of drizzles of oil in a skillet on the stove-top. Season with salt & black pepper to your taste. Thicken the sauce in the slow cooker per the recipe, then stir in crisp-cooked vegetables just before serving.
Chinese 5-Spice powder includes; cinnamon, fennel, schezwan peppers, star anise and clove ground into a spice blend. It's readily available on the spice aisle or in the Asian section of most grocery stores.