Slow Cooked Chicken Thighs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Mmmm, nice steaming hot plate of “Slow Cooked Chicken Thighs in Spicy Tomato Sauce” – just what was needed earlier in the week when it was a little colder.

Slow Cooked Chicken Thighs in Spicy Tomato Sauce - served with an Ainsley Harriet couscous mix
Slow Cooked Chicken Thighs in Spicy Tomato Sauce – served with an Ainsley Harriet couscous mix

A lot of the non-recipe posts you see on this site are prompted by things I see/hear either online across a multitude of Social Media, or actually whilst at group.  This is probably the first recipe though that’s been prompted by (in this instance) social media.

The story behind this is that there had been a few posts about the Iceland range of Slimming World meals and if people eat them 7 days a week because the person posting “can’t cook”.  The answer is “Yes, people do, and still lose weight doing so”.  However – I would always say (as do a lot of consultants) that “fresh is best”. I’m not averse to using frozen food – I do it all the time – but prefer fresh when I can find it cheap enough.


But I digress. I offered the solution of using a slow cooker. I love my slow cooker. I use it for all sorts. The mince and veg dish that can then be turned into so many other things. Mushy pea curry is another that I will sometimes do in the slow cooker. The beauty of nearly any slow cooker meal is that it can be as simple as throw everything in, stir, turn on and leave.

Which Slow Cooker?

I’ve had a few slow cookers over the years – and apart from size and maybe different heating levels – they’re all much the same.

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I’ve had these small rounder ones before:

They work but the can be very small – especially after you put the veg and meat in.

However I do like to batch cook and in large quantity so my current slow cooker is more like this one (I can’t remember where I got mine from):

If I’m doing any kind of mince or chilli type dish in there – I find I get pretty much everything in that I need to make 5 or 6 portions. You can go bigger than a 3.5litre one but with it being just me, this is enough.

But check out your local supermarkets if they have a kitchen electrical section – they’re often cheaper there or on a special offer. Maybe not so much at this moment as we’re heading into winter but definitely come February time when they want to get rid of excess stock.  I’ve seen 3 and 5 litre capacity slow cookers for £12/£15 each before.

Or check out your local charity shops – they frequently have them in I find. Make sure the charity has performed an electrical safety check before they sell it (there should be a label on the item – usually it’s put on the plug).

Which setting?

A lot of the cheaper models (and definitely on the older second-hand ones) only came with one setting – “On”.  These days it’s typical to find three (or more) settings – “Warm”; “Low”; “High”. And it’s just what it says on the tin (or aluminium or steel – depending what your slow cooker is made from).  “Warm” is just keeping the food warm once it’s cooked, or to just slowly warm things up – to be honest – I rarely use it.  “Low” is a low cooking heat requiring a longer cooking time (great if setting up first thing before being out for 8 or 9 hours) and “High” is a higher cooking heat that takes a bit less time than on “Low”.

Why I love my slow cooker

Because it’s the ultimate in being lazy without picking up the phone and ordering food to be delivered. I set it up either the night before or first thing in the morning and turn it on and that’s that. It does the all the work for me. Before I got sick and stopped working – I’d get everything ready the night before and just turn it on before I left the house. Even now, I’ll do things first thing in the morning. In fact with this “Slow Cooked Chicken Thighs in Spicy Tomato Sauce recipe” – I didn’t even make it till 1pm that day – stuck on high for 6 or so hours – falling off the bone chicken. Yum.

It can be as simple as (optional but recommended) browning the meat in a pan for a few minutes, chop the veg up, throw it all in a slow cooker and cover with stock. Leave turned on low for 8-9 hours. (time will vary depending on type and cut of meat though).

It allows us to use the cheaper cuts of meat – especially beef – from frozen cubed stewing steak through to skirt steak or when available ox cheeks. Whatever veg we have – be it fresh or frozen (tinned sometimes may go a bit mushy though). But I fancied something a little different.

I had some chicken thighs that I picked up cheap last week and had been frozen and didn’t fancy the bacon wrapped chicken thighs that night.  I hadn’t gotten around to putting the Slow Cooker back in the cupboard from doing the Slimming World “BBQ Pulled Pork” recipe last week. Chicken thighs, slow cooker, what could go wrong.

So onto the recipe…

For this I used:

  • 4 medium-sized chicken thighs
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 small tin of chickpeas (drained)
  • Mixed Herbs
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco Chipotle Chilli Sauce
  • Dried Chilli Flakes
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper

Method – what method?

I skinned the chicken thighs, threw everything into the slow cooker, put the lid on, and turned to “High”. I would usually do it on “Low” but left it a little late that day. After about 6 or 7 hours later – it was done.

How much spice, etc. you add is down to personal taste – but keep it in low amounts to start with. After 4 or so hours – taste the sauce.  If it’s not spicy enough for you – add some more.

One of the thighs did kind of disintegrate into the pot and left me with just the bone – perfect. I kept one of the remaining thighs back for the next day and had half the sauce and the two thighs. Served with a pack of Ainsley Harriet style couscous (remember to check the syns – they vary by brand).

The remaining sauce I reheated the following day. Shredded the meat from the remaining thigh and stirred that in and served as a thick soup.  I did consider blending the sauce first but then I like my soup chunky.

Don’t forget – any bargains, etc I find whilst out and about will now only be placed on the thethriftydieter Facebook page. Make sure you like/follow for bargains plus updates when things get put on this site.




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