Peanut Chicken

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Perfect Peanut Chicken

After Thanksgiving, our daughter Rachel invited us for dinner at her very busy, very chaotic home.  In addition to being a wonderful daughter and mother and wife and acupuncturist, she is an excellent cook.  She manages to feed her family of five mostly homemade, nutritious meals and snacks. I know I am biased, but to say she is impressive is an understatement.

So….I wasn’t surprised that our dinner was (A) something I’d never had and (B) something so tasty I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  When I mentioned to her that I liked it, she looked kind of embarrassed. I pressed her for the recipe for this peanut chicken and she apologetically sent it to me.

Let me back up a bit here.   Almost three years ago, my youngest sister Kay came to Seattle after Rachel’s third baby was born.  Kay’s mission was to help make and freeze a lot of food, to drive Rachel’s two older boys around to lessons and such, and to help the baby sleep through the night.

Katie (AKA Kay) drove the minivan absolutely everywhere and said it reminded her of when her twenty and thirty-something boys were young.  She got the baby to sleep 12 hours at a POP, I kid you not. And she made so many challahs and pots of soup and main dishes that the freezer was bursting.  

Evidently, this chicken dish was one of the things Kay made for Rachel.  She told Rachel at the time that the written recipe looked disgusting but the chicken was simple as well as loved by kids and adults.  

The original recipe was one meal Kay made that came, of blessed memory, from Betty Crocker!  Changing the original recipe, I made this with only chicken thighs and I added a generous squeeze of lime at the end while serving because lime helps everything taste fresh.  I thought I had cilantro but I did not and I did miss the green on the plate. Also, I served my chicken with farro risotto, but even while or brown rice would be good to sop up the peanut sauce. Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of the plate complete with sliced cucumbers, radishes, and shredded carrots – which all helped to jazz it up a bit.  

Don’t forget the accoutrements!

Don’t judge.  It is so rare that I use anything out of jars, but this is a good dish to have on a cold winter day when you want a warm meal with little trouble.  I’ll admit it – it sounds absolutely gross, but fortunately, I didn’t know what the ingredients in the dish were until I ate it and oohed and ahhed. Every now and then, when you find yourself having one of those days with little time and many mouths to feed, something comes along that is dead simple to make. I think most kids would absolutely love this meal!  Just consider serving it with some type of easy salad. We all need a little civility, don’t we?

Peanut Chicken Thighs

Serves 6



  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
  • 1 ½ cup salsa (old El Paso thick and chunky salsa is suggested but I used a different brand)
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh peeled ginger root
  • ¼ cup chopped salted peanuts
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ c sliced green onion
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Oil a rectangular or oval pan, 13x9x2 inches, with cooking spray. Place chicken, skin side down, in a single layer in pan.

Mix salsa, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, and ginger root; spoon over chicken.

Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Turn chicken pieces and spoon pan sauces over chicken. Bake uncovered 30 minutes longer or until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro and serve each person a nice slice of lime to squeeze at the last minute. Enjoy!

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One Response to Peanut Chicken

  1. Ruth Craver says:

    Back in the 1960s, when the World’s Fair was in NY, we stopped at the African pavilion and had chicken made with a peanut sauce. It was very good. I like white meat, and would like to try this sometime on chicken breasts.

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