This is a delicious, Thai-inspired, crock pot coconut chicken soup recipe that can be tweaked to suit your tastes. A couple of suggestions: a pound of shrimp or fish may replace the chicken (remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as chicken takes longer to cook), and almost any other vegetables can be substituted for the ones I used. If you like peanuts, they do add a nice crunch to the soup. Since this isn't authentic Thai cuisine, I just served it with a simple romaine salad.
Equipment you will need:
3 1/2 - 4 quart crock pot (slow cooker)
2 cutting boards
2 sharp knives
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
14 oz. light coconut milk
3 cups fresh, sliced carrots
1 medium chopped onion
2 medium chopped bell peppers (I used one green and one yellow to add color).
12 oz. fresh button mushrooms, rinsed
2 tablespoons grated ginger*
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper*
3 cloves minced garlic*
1/4 cup fresh, snipped cilantro*
chopped peanuts, to taste (optional)
Ginger - I found ginger in a squeezable tube in the produce section of a local supermarket. If you use ginger as much as I do, it's convenient to buy it this way, so you can always have it on hand when you need it (it lasts much longer in the refrigerator than ginger root does). For recipes such as this, it cuts down prep time, as there is no need to grate ginger root.
Crushed red pepper - I had scotch bonnet flakes on hand, so I used those. Of course, you can add any kind of pepper you like (or happen to have in the pantry). Add more or less, depending on how spicy you like your food.
Garlic - Minced garlic is another ingredient I use a lot of, so I keep a big jar of it in the refrigerator; it saves time when prepping meals. You can find jarred, minced or chopped garlic in the produce section of most supermarkets.
Cilantro - I have cilantro growing on the kitchen windowsill, but you can find it in the produce section of the supermarket, or dried cilantro can be used.
For easy clean-up, I use Reynold's Slow Cooker Liners. Add broth to crock pot, and turn it on the low setting. Add lemon juice, ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes. Stir the mixture. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and add to crock pot. Add carrots and onion. Cover and cook on low setting for 5 - 6 hours. If you don't have that much time, you can cook it on the high setting for about 3 hours. When the chicken and carrots are cooked through, add the rice. If the crock pot is on the high setting, turn it down to low. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is the desired consistency. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, cilantro, and coconut milk to the mixture. Turn off the crock pot, cover, and let stand for 10 or 15 minutes (until the mushrooms and peppers are cooked to the desired consistency). Serve sprinkled with peanuts, if desired. This recipe makes about 6 servings.