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Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken, Almost Chinese Food

When I was a kid, I was taken out for “Chinese” food. I use quotes because I doubt anyone one in China ever ate dishes like the Sweet and Sour Boneless Pork, Chicken Chow Mein, or Chop Suey I was served.

Since then I have learned to love Szechuan, Mandarin and Cantonese dishes. However, I have to admit, I still miss the westernized “Chinese” food of my youth.

The problem was that those dishes were really not very good for you. The Sweet and Sour Pork was fatty pork that was deep fried and cooked with enough sodium to preserve a mummy.

This dish is my attempt to satisfy my urge for that pork in a sticky sweet and sour sauce without being quite so bad for you. I substitute chicken thighs for pork and use a slow cooker instead of deep frying the pork.

The ingredients are:

• 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
• vegetable oil
• 1 cup peppers cut in strips (I used red and green peppers)
• 1/2 cup onion cut in strips
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup rice vinegar (you can substitute white vinegar but it won’t be as good)
• 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) pineapple tidbits
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 3 tablespoons ketchup
• 1 tablespoon sherry (cooking sherry is fine)
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
• 3 teaspoons of cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium high heat in a fry pan. Brown the chicken in batches until just starting to get brown. Add more oil if necessary between batches. Set the chicken aside.

Add more oil to the pan if necessary and saute the peppers and onions until they start to soften 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the peppers and onion and add it to the chickens.

Reduce the heat under the fry pan to medium and add the liquid from the pineapple tidbits, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, sherry, and Worcestershire sauce to the saucepan.

Bring it to a boil and boil it for 3 minutes to totally dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat.

Put the chicken and vegetables into the slow cooker. Put the drained pineapple tidbits over the chicken. Pour the sauce over the chicken and pineapple. Cover the slow cooker and set it on low. Cook for 7 to 8 hours.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken and vegetables from the sauce and put in your serving dish. Keep the chicken and vegetables warm in a 200 F oven.

Pour the sauce into a small sauce pan and bring to a low boil. Pour the cornstarch dissolved in water into the sauce and stir while cooking until the sauce is thickened. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve with rice.

The Verdict

If you love authentic Chinese food, this isn’t it. However, it is a healthier version of the Sweet and Sour dishes served to us uneducated westerners when I was a kid. It is sweet with a touch
of sour overtones. The sauce is thick and shiny. The pineapple gives it a rich flavour. Kids would love this. I know I do.

The Old Fat Guy

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