West African groundnut chicken, spicy and rich

(Chicken with peanut sauce, to serve over rice.)
Ghanaian recipe adapted for slow-cooker.  This thick and creamy sauce is very hearty and is always a hit at potlucks and with company.  I have had friends describe this as the best “gravy” they have ever had.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 Pounds chicken breasts without skin or bone, roughly cut into two inch pieces
1 very large onion, or two medium sized onions, diced as small as possible
3 Tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon Chipotle powder or other mild chili pepper
2 cans, (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes with spicy green chilies, including liquid
1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes, including liquid
4 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup crunchy all natural peanut butter, no additives, no sugar or oil added

Heat oil over medium heat in a 12 inch cast iron pan, or similar sized frying pan. Fry chicken in oil about 5 minutes, stirring a few times to cook evenly. It does not have to be fully cooked, we are just frying it to give it texture and avoid the pallid, dull look meat can take on when cooked in a slow cooker.

Mix onion, garlic, diced and crushed tomatoes, honey, cumin, chipotle and cinnamon in the slow cooker (6 quart or larger). Place cooked chicken pieces in the slow cooker, and mix with the tomato and onion mixture already in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 7 to 8 hours or until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest chicken pieces are cut.

In a separate bowl, carefully mix the peanut butter with a few tablespoons of broth taken from the slow cooker. Mix the peanut butter with the broth until it is smooth and well mixed. Add another few spoonfuls of broth and mix again until it is smoothly blended. Add the peanut butter blend to the contents of the slow cooker and mix thoroughly to evenly distribute the peanut butter and the spices.

Taste. Depending on your preferences, you may want to add additional spices or seasoning at this point, such as chipotle, garlic powder, or salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and serve. Once the peanut butter is mixed in, do not cook the completed mixture for more than 10 minutes, popular lore is that the peanut butter will separate and cause stomach upset. I have never seen this happen, but have been urged several times by Ghanaians to avoid cooking much after the peanut butter has been mixed in.

Serving suggestion: Serve over rice or potatoes with steamed vegetables on the side, and optionally sprinkled with chopped peanuts or chopped cilantro.

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