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Thai Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Recipe: Thai Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Remarks:

    This dish may be spicy but I think you'll like it. Remember, you're in control. I didn't use those tiny Thai peppers. I just used the regular crushed red pepper. And you're in charge of how much you use. I used just enough to give it some zing (and maybe a few sweat beads will form on your forehead or under your eyes). If you're like me, you'll need to keep a tissue handy too. But this isn't really the hot regional food unless you decide to kick up the heat by adding more peppers or by adding hot pepper sauce. You can do that after it's cooked and on the table if you're adventurous.

    This is an easy meal. With cooked chicken, you're in and out of the kitchen in less than 30 minutes so you don't even produce too much heat there. The boiling water to make the pasta is about it. Three little pans. No muss. No fuss.

Servings:
Serves 4

Ingredients:

    8 oz. sliced button mushrooms
    2 tsp butter
    1 tsp olive oil
    1 red pepper sliced into thin strips
    3 cups cooked chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
    1 bunch green onions, diced up to half of the green part too
    Angel hair pasta for 4

    For sauce:
    3 garlic cloves mashed or 2 tsp crushed garlic in a jar
    1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    1 Tbl vegetable oil
    3 Tbl tomato paste (keep the rest for something else)
    2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (Do not use natural peanut butter. Use a brand like Skippy or Jif.)
    4 Tbl hoisin sauce
    1 to 1-1/4 cups water

Instructions:

    Get your pasta water boiling in a pasta pot.

    Melt butter and olive oil in large sauté pan. Add mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes on Medium until they soften. Add the red pepper slices and chicken. Cook a few minutes more until pepper slices soften and chicken warms. You want some crispness still left in your peppers so this won't take more than 3 to 5 minutes. Then add the green onions. You just want them to sort of get warm as you toss them in. They don't need to really cook.

    While this is happening, start your pasta if you are using dried pasta. Follow the directions on the box for the amount of pasta for 4 portions and for the timing. Angel hair usually takes about 6 minutes to cook. Fresh pasta cooks even faster.

    The pasta is cooking, the ingredients above are cooking, and now your sauce will be cooking too, so you'll be keeping an eye on all three things: pasta, chicken/vegetable mixture and sauce.

    Sauce:
    Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes to your oil in a saucepan. Heat until bubbling and hot but do not over brown. Just as they start to brown on the edges, add your tomato paste, peanut butter and your hoisin sauce. Cook on Medium while you stir to mix. Then add water and continue to stir with a whisk to blend. Keep on simmering at a Low setting. Just keep warm. If you keep the temperature too hot, this sauce will continue to thicken and start to stick to your pan. If it does start to thicken too much you can add a little more water, but keep an eye on it and take it off heat if necessary. You can gently re-warm it if the pasta and other veggies aren't ready yet.

    When the three parts are all cooked (pasta, chicken/vegetable mixture and sauce), drain your pasta.

Serving Suggestions:

    In pasta bowls, first put in your pasta portions. Then divide the sauce and pour on top of the pasta. Stir it around to mix it into the noodles. Last, layer the chicken/vegetable mixture on top of the noodles. The noodles will be brown now because you've covered them in peanut sauce. The colorful part of your dish will come from the peppers and onions on top. That's why you don't want to stir them into the sauce until you're ready to eat.

Enjoy!

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