Spicy Slow-Cooked Chicken
On Taco Tuesday, or any day for that matter, a savory, spicy Mexican-inspired chicken makes a delicious filling for hard or soft tacos. But stewing chicken in spices for several hours after a day at work just isn't practical. Have dinner waiting for you when you arrive home by preparing the chicken in your Crock-Pot. You'll also please your family with this Mexican chicken recipe, which features highly developed flavors without all the extra effort.
This recipe doesn't require much prep work on your part, either. No chopping, opening multiple cans or measuring spices. Use a jar of your favorite salsa for flavor. Choose the spice level of the salsa carefully, because the flavors will concentrate as the chicken soaks up the salsa in the Crock-Pot. You're not limited to red salsa, either. Tomatillo or green chile salsa make tasty choices.
Boneless, skinless thighs are the best choice for this dish. The meat stays moist and shreds readily once it's cooked for hours. Plus, the thighs offer a little more robust flavor than bland, chewy breasts--and boneless means no mess.
The salsa usually offers enough seasoning, but feel free to add a touch of salt to the finished chicken. If you want to boost the flavor just a touch more, sprinkle in a teaspoon each of ground cumin, onion powder and garlic powder.
Total Time: 4 to 8 hours|Prep Time: 5 minutes|Serves: 6 to 8
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 24-ounce jar of salsa
- Place the chicken and salsa together in the Crock-Pot.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. The recipe is forgiving, so it can cook for a little extra time and still be delicious.
- Serve over rice, or use as a filling for tacos or burritos. Leftover chicken makes a delicious quesadilla filling or topping for nachos.
Options: In the last hour or two of cooking, add chopped zucchini, frozen corn and a drained can of black beans for a heartier dish.
Topping Suggestions: When serving the chicken like a chili over rice, top it with shredded cheese, diced avocado and a dollop of sour cream. Add chopped cilantro for a fresh flavor element.
If the meal needs to cook longer to fit in your schedule--for example, 10 to 12 hours on low--add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chicken broth along with the salsa to ensure the chicken doesn't dry out.
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.