In addition to working full time in real estate trying to keep her two girls in shoes (and hair accessories), my step sister, Meagan, volunteers for several charities, manages to get her kids to hither and yon for various activities, and always has on a fantastic pair of heels. She’s busy. And like most of us, finds getting dinner on the table a mighty task. She told me recently that she bought a slow cooker, but hasn’t cracked open the box; she needs a little guidance on the subject. Indeed, Meagan is one of many moms who’ve been asking for crock pot advice and recipes since I started this blog.

I didn’t have much in the way of either since I’ve been slow to the crock pot table. The few times I’ve played around with the thing, it was borrowed from a friend. Frankly, since my kitchen is effectively my office, I haven’t felt the need. It’s easy for me to let something bubble on the back of the stove in my giant cast iron pot (which I’ve always sort of considered my slow cooker anyway) while I work on some other project.

But knowing how many moms rely on slow cookers and are seeking good recipes, I thought I’d finally commit. I bought a basic Crock Pot brand version and have been putting it work ever since. I have to say, I get the appeal: throw all of your ingredients in, flip the switch, come home to a warm meal. Done. It’s feel a little bit like magic.

It’s no wonder crock pots are so popular. Whether you are the mom running after a toddler all day, or the one running out the door for the office, the slow cooker makes it (practically) effortless to get family dinner from fridge to table. And really nourishing food thrives in the crock pot, notably beans, legumes, and sturdy vegetables.

Since I’m forging new territory here, I asked a few moms whom I know are crock pot die hards for their favorite recipe resources. One friend handed me a copy of Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O’Dea, a gal who committed to cooking out of her crockpot for an entire year. I figured a year of slow cooking? She’s got to know her craft. Today’s recipe is hers, with a few tiny tweaks of my own. Vietnamese Slow Cooker Chicken may sound exotic for the preschool set, but the only prerequisite is a fondness for soy sauce. I served it to my own crew with a little side dish of sliced cucumbers doused with seasoned rice wine vinegar. It earned thumbs up all around and made a great leftover lunch  the next day.

5 from 2 votes

Vietnamese Slow Cooker Chicken with Ginger and Bok Choy

I've tinkered this recipe a bit since first publishing it here, by simplifying the method and adding fresh ginger along with rice vinegar to the mix. Feel free to bump up the amount of bok choy, if you like, or use other favorite leafy greens or vegetables.
Servings 4 servings


  • 6 skinless , bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or gluten-free Tamari, if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic , thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2- inch piece fresh ginger , peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ pounds baby bok choy
  • Cooked brown rice or other favorite grain for serving
  • Sriracha for serving , if desired


  1. Lay the chicken thighs in the slow cooker with the fleshier side facing down. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, black pepper, garlic, ginger, canola oil, and brown sugar. Pour over the chicken, put on the lid, and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours. The time may vary a little depending on the size of the chicken thighs.
  2. When the chicken is nearly done, cut the heads of baby bok choy in half down the center and remove the little wedge of core. Roughly chop the bok choy and wash thoroughly.
  3. About 10 minutes before the cooking time is up, remove the chicken from the pot and add the bok choy, nestling into the sauce a bit. Put the chicken on top of the bok choy, shut the lid, and cook until tender (about 8 minutes on high). Serve over rice with sriracha for those who want to add a little kick to the dish.

Adapted from Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O’Dea.