Slow cooker red curry chicken

Satisfy takeout cravings with this simple yet hearty recipe.

Food writer and recipe developer Kristin Donnellybelieves in generous, family-style cooking. Her cookbook,Modern Potluck, elevates classic picnicstapleswith healthy versions like Mediterraneanseven-layer dip and vegetarian pâté made from lentils and pecans. Here, Donnelly shares a recipe for a Thai-style coconut curry that packs a lot of flavor (and three different vegetables) into an easy slow cooker dish. If you buy pre-sliced squash and mushrooms, it barely requires any chopping. The squash adds a natural sweetness to the curry, softening as it cooks to help create a thick, silky sauce.

1 14-ounce can coconut milk
3 tablespoons prepared Thai red curry paste
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
12 ounces pre-cut chunks of butternut squash, about ¾-inch pieces (2 heaping cups)
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
8 ounces sliced shiitake mushroom caps (optional)
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water (optional)
1 5-ounce box baby spinach
Juice of 1 to 2 limes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Steamed rice (optional)

Lime wedges
Sliced scallion
Torn cilantro or mint leaves
Sriracha or other Asian chili sauce

Directions:In a slow cooker, stir the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, and sugar. Add the butternut squash and chicken, pushing to submerge in the liquid. Cook the chicken and squash on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. If you’re using the mushrooms, add them for the last 1 hour of cooking on low or 30 minutes on high. Switch the cooker to high if it’s not already, and transfer the chicken to a bowl. If you’d like to thicken the liquid, stir in the cornstarch-water mixture. Add the spinach to the top of the liquid. Use two forks to shred the chicken (it will shred very easily) and return to the cooker. Cook the curry for 5 to 10 minutes, until the spinach is wilted to your liking. Add the juice of 1 lime, taste, and add more lime juice if necessary. Season the curry with salt and pepper.

To plate: Serve with steamed rice, passing the garnishes at the table.

Also in this series: Slow Cooker Salsa Beef and Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili