Okay, so I was browsing the Interwebs somewhere along 2008 or 2009 and came across a recipe contest called 'Crocktober.' I love my slow cooker and thought, hmmmm...this might be interesting. Usually, all you can find is roast, soup and casserole-type slow cooker recipes. At that time, it was difficult to find world cuisine type recipes. I love Asian flavors and was just getting into Thai flavors at this time. I also started reading about the health benefits of incorporating more orange veggies like pumpkin and butternut squash into our menus. I literally came up with this recipe in just a couple of hours. I did submit it to that 'Crocktober' contest but it did not win. However, a few months after the contest, I received this small tabloid-style cooking magazine (the ones you see whilst waiting in the grocery store checkout line) in the mail. I did not order it nor could I figure out why I received it until I thumbed through the recipes. My recipe was placed in the exact center of the magazine. My son, who was about 17 at the time, noted after looking at the picture that it couldn't possibly be my recipe because I never plated anything like that ever...LOLOLOLOL!!!
It is my recipe! To show you how old it is (relatively speaking), I saved it to a either a floppy 5-1/4 inch disk or a 3.5-inch disk, both of which I used for storage at the time. Sadly, I no longer have the proper disk drives to retrieve all my old recipes.
Don't be daunted by the ingredient list because most of these should already be a part of your pantry. This makes a hearty delicious soup to warm those snowy icy winter nights. The fragrance of cooking all day will welcome you home. I hope you enjoy!! —gr8chefmb
extra virgin olive oil
boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
large white onion, thinly sliced
garlic cloves, minced
fresh minced ginger
crushed red pepper (feel free to increase to 3/4 tsp if you like spicy)
celery ribs, thinly sliced
carrots, halved and thinly sliced
can solid-pack pumpkin [NOT pumpkin pie filling]
creamy peanut butter
low-sodium chicken broth
fresh lime juice
rice wine vinegar
minced fresh cilantro [divided use]
hot cooked rice (preferably jasmine or basmati)
roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes; cook for 1-2 minutes longer or until fragrant. Transfer to slow cooker crock.
Stir in celery, carrots, pumpkin, peanut butter, broth, water, mango nectar, and lime juice. Cover; cook on LOW 8 hours or on HIGH 4 hours.
Stir in rice wine vinegar and 1/4 cup cilantro. Stir together cream and cornstarch in a small bowl, then stir into soup. Turn to HIGH and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until soup thickens.
To serve, place about 1/2 cup of hot cooked rice in bottom of bowls and ladle soup around rice. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro, green onions and peanuts. Squeeze fresh lime juice over soup.
SUBSTITUTIONS: Feel free to substitute either sweet potato or butternut squash puree for the pumpkin. Cashew butter and coarsely chopped cashews may be used in place of peanut butter and chopped peanuts. Flat-leaf parsley may be substituted for cilantro or you may use a combination of cilantro, parsley, mint and/or basil, instead. If preferred, substitute another grain (i.e. quinoa, barley, etc.) for the rice.
NOTE: This recipe may be prepared on the stove top simply by using a Dutch oven when browning the chicken, and then following the remaining steps. Simmer over medium heat for 45-60 minutes, or just until carrots are fork-tender. After adding cream-cornstarch slurry, simmer uncovered for 4-6 minutes, or just until thickened.