Smoky Chicken Stew – Crock Pot

I am normally a very cheerful young woman.  I don’t hold grudges, I only stay mad for approximately 5 minutes at a time, and I choose to be optimistic and happy as often as I can.  I mean, why waste your days feeling less optimal than you are able to? Am I right?

Well… today I am finding it hard to be cheerful. Why you may ask? Well… because it is going to be snowing/raining for the next few days and COLD, my car is in the shop and I have to pay $2,200 to drive it again (no fault of my own and it’s a luxury 08 which I bought precisely so I WOULDN’T have to deal with this), and it is only Tuesday. Do you see where I am coming from now?

Starting now I am going to focus on happy things to try and lift my spirits, including these reasons:

I still have some Lemon Blueberry Nut Muffins and some paleo brownies in the fridge, my apartment is SUPER clean thanks to being productive before an awesome Stella & Dot Trunk Show I had this weekend, I get a bunch of pretty new jewelry in the mail this week (thanks Martha!), and one month from today I will be on my way to PARIS from LONDON!!!! Holy crap I am excited guys. I have never been to Europe and I am like a school-girl, giddy with excitement 🙂

Oh the smokiness…

This recipe is ALSO helping with the crabby-ness because I am absolutely addicted to it. I think I even like it better than any of the chili or curry recipes I have made… and that’s saying a lot. It has some amazing smoky flavors due to my new FAVE TJ’s purchase: South African Smoke Seasoning Blend.  It is also chock full of chicken, and reheats really, really well.  Perfect for ‘leftovers for lunch’ which is the very best.  It feeds two really hungry people (The Dr. and I) for 3 meals pretty easily so if you are less hungry or don’t have a significant other you are forced to feed, then you can freeze half and thaw in a few weeks so you don’t get sick of it (not sure you actually could get sick of it though).

Bowl full of magic

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and it makes the beginning of your week a little brighter. And I also hope that your car is running like a champ and you don’t have to pay someone thousands of dollars to fix it… whoops, there’s that negativity again. Stopping. Now. Okay, scroll down or click here for the recipe!

Sweet Potatoes and Smiles,

The Freckled Foodie

Creamy deliciousness

Smoky Chicken Stew

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Recipe type: Entree, crock pot, stew


  • 12 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (~1.5lbs), trimmed of excess fat, could use chicken breast as well
  • 1-2 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped pretty finely
  • 2-3 Carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 1/2 container Mushrooms (optional)
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 14oz can Tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp dried Basil
  • South African Smoke Seasoning Blend from Trader Joe’s – GO BUY THIS NOW. you NEED it
  • 28oz can Fire roasted, diced Tomatoes
  • 8oz full fat Coconut milk or Coconut cream
  • S&P to taste


  1. Heat Coconut oil over medium heat and add onions, carrots, and celery
  2. Cook for 5-10 minutes until they are partially softened
  3. Transfer to the crock pot and add mushrooms, garlic, tomato paste, basil, and seasoning blend
  4. Stir until all veggies are coated in tomato paste
  5. Cut chicken into smaller cubes (otherwise you will have to shred it later which can be annoying)
  6. Add to crockpot and pour canned tomatoes and coconut milk over it all
  7. Stir to incorporate
  8. Cook for 4 hours on high or until chicken and veggies are cooked through
  9. Salt and Pepper to taste
  10. Serve with another splash of coconut milk over the top to cool it down 🙂
  11. REALLY good reheated on the stove for leftovers!

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Comments: 23

  1. Meredith April 10, 2013 at 6:51 am Reply

    For some reason I don’t like the tomato/coconut combo. I made curry with that combo last month and didn’t go for it at all! For some reason it didn’t agree with my tastebuds. you think it’s still a decent recipe without the coconut? i LOVE using my crockpot. this recipe is awesome with all the veg and good protein!

    • thefreckledfoodie April 10, 2013 at 7:07 am Reply

      You could definitely leave out the coconut, I just like that it adds a little creaminess. You may need more liquid so you could sub some tomato sauce or pasta sauce if it needs it!

  2. Tami Jo Eaton April 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm Reply

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I am so excited to try this recipe and the special seasoning. I am running to TJ’s after work. I love to make stuff in the crock pot. We are always running to soccer, volleyball or baseball. Anything to get good food on the table quickly makes this mom happy.

    • thefreckledfoodie April 11, 2013 at 5:25 pm Reply

      Tami Jo,
      You will LOVE the seasoning blend. I am officially addicted and put it in my eggs every morning now! I don’t have any kids and work from home but I still totally rely on my crock pot!

  3. Kel April 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm Reply

    Can I assume the seasoning blend is whole30 approved? I don’t want to head to TJs unless it is :)…and because I will end up buying things I really don’t need.

    I SO hear you on our MN weather. Please spring – show up before the 90 degrees and humid arrives!

    • thefreckledfoodie April 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm Reply

      Yes, it is Whole30 approved! And I promise you won’t regret the drive!

      I cannot wait for it to be nice, I want to go to the Minneapolis Paleo Meetup group meetings in the sunshine. Next months will be an outside potluck!

  4. Louise April 15, 2013 at 4:16 am Reply

    hope you enjoy coming to London – although don’t expect anything from the weather, we haven’t had any spring yet!
    Thanks for all the great recipes – I’m on Day 12 of my Whole 30 and so far your 15 minute salmon and sprouts has been my only repeat recipe – I’d only had boiled sprouts at Christmas prior to that (an English thing I think) so these yummy sprouts were a revelation! Thank you

    • thefreckledfoodie April 15, 2013 at 7:46 am Reply

      Congrats on making it through day 12! I am very excited about London! Any recommendations for restaurants with ethically raised meat?

  5. Nate July 15, 2013 at 9:06 am Reply

    I love the TJ Seasoning blend… but how much do you recommend for this recipe? i could easily overdo it. 🙂

    • thefreckledfoodie July 15, 2013 at 10:44 am Reply

      I don’t measure exactly when I make the stew but I would say up to a tbsp and a half would not be overdoing it 🙂

  6. Nicole September 15, 2013 at 12:54 am Reply

    WOW! This was awesome. The only thing I did differently was blend the tomatoes a bit in a food processor because I don’t like them too chunky. Awesome meal! Next time I’m making a double batch. Thanks for sharing!

    • thefreckledfoodie September 15, 2013 at 8:43 pm Reply

      Nicole, I’m so happy you loved it! I will have to try your version next time 🙂

  7. Karen December 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm Reply

    Just made this and ate a big bowl, and loved it! I used cooked pulled chicken breast because I already had some in the freezer, and omitted the coconut milk simply because I can’t read and missed that ingredient. Still turned out fantastic. I too shall be making a double batch next time!

    • thefreckledfoodie December 11, 2013 at 9:03 pm Reply

      Karen, I’m happy you enjoyed it! It is definitely one of my favorite recipes!

  8. Angela February 25, 2014 at 9:24 pm Reply

    I cooked mine on low and the chicken dried out…..perhaps I shouldn’t have doubled the time??? Everything else was yummy!

    • thefreckledfoodie February 25, 2014 at 10:09 pm Reply

      Angela, that’s weird it dried out, you didn’t pre-cook it beforehand? I would guess on low it would only need 5-6 hours at the most rather than a full 8 like you might be able to do with chili. Hopefully you try it again soon!

      • Angela February 26, 2014 at 8:19 pm Reply

        Oh…I will! I loved everything else about it and so did my son.

  9. Lori March 5, 2014 at 6:46 pm Reply

    Hey! I’m planning on making this tomorrow night and wondered how many chicken breasts I would need. From what I googled 1.5 lbs is about 3 or 4 breasts but that quite a bit different than 12 thighs…obviously thighs are smaller and possibly have more fat so maybe that’s the difference? Anyway would 3 breasts be enough?

    • thefreckledfoodie March 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm Reply

      Lori, if they are large chicken breasts then 3-4 would be enough for sure. Thighs are a lot smaller, you’re right 🙂

      • Lori March 8, 2014 at 10:33 pm Reply

        I used 4 and the whole meal was plenty enough for two nights of dinners for my husband and me and one of my lunches! And it was delicious!!!! For my lunch I put the stew in some lettuce wraps…yum!!

        • thefreckledfoodie March 9, 2014 at 12:11 am Reply

          Lori, I’m glad you liked it! It is one of my favorite recipes on my blog 🙂 I’m sure it was great in the lettuce wraps too!

  10. Pam March 23, 2014 at 12:20 pm Reply

    I made this for dinner last night, perfect for the cold nasty weather we were having n Colorado. Hands down one of the tastiest and most flavorful meals ever. Hubby couldn’t stop raving about it as we both headed back for seconds! Plenty of leftovers too, Yay! Changes I made were I winged the trader Joes seasoning since I didn’t have any. I also had some beef broth I ‘d been wanting to use up in the fridge so I added a cup of that. Beef broth with chicken? Yep, in such a small amount it didn’t conflict at all. I think in addition to the TJs seasoning the prime ingredient has to be the coconut milk. It gave the stew such a silky, luxurious mouth feel and body that I can’t imagine this stew without it. Than you SO much for this easy and delicious addition to our must have meals. Now I have to get me some of that spice mix!

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