Thursday, January 5, 2012

Crock Pot Classics: Mexican Chili Chicken

I have a confession to make: I love my Crock Pot. A lot. My Crock Pot is, however nearing the end of its poor little life. Its old. Really old. Plus, I have made more of our dinners in that thing in the last year than I have not. Who can blame me though? I can dump a bunch of things in there, turn it on and forget it. I don't have to check on it or worry about leaving it home alone. I usually don't even have to make anything to go with whatever it is in there because its like having a one pot, complete meal.

Anyway, I thought I would start sharing some of my favorite Crock Pot meals when I think of it. Now, I have to admit, I am no food blogger. I'm also not that great of a food photographer even though that is something I intend to work on over the year. So, You will have to bear with me as I figure all this out and forgive the lack of pictures in this post. Just use your imagination. I promise you will recognize the ingredients.

Speaking of which, here is what you will need to make my Mexican Chili Chicken:

  • A Crock Pot (obviously)
  • 2 medium-ish green bell peppers, cut into strips (I freeze bell pepper strips in bulk in the summer so I can just throw a handful or two in)
  • 1 large onion, quartered and sliced into strips (I also freeze diced onions and add a handful. Depends on how big you like your onions in things.)
  • 8 Chicken breasts or thighs (bone-in tastes best)
  • 1Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 jar chipoltle salsa (16oz)
  • 1/2c ketchup
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke flavor (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • Noodles or rice (Whichever you have/ like. Either is good)

Once you have gathered the items above the line, assemble them all in the pot. Veggies on the bottom, then the chicken, chili powder and salsa on top. You can sprinkle a little bit of ground cumin in on top of the chili powder too if you want. It makes it a little more chicken-y. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 2 to 3 hours. It really does make a difference in the chicken though so if you have the time, cook it on low for more moist, flavorful chicken.

After the allotted time, check to make sure the meat is cooked with a meat thermometer or how ever your mama taught you to. After that, I go ahead and make the noodles or rice to go with it. That way its ready in the serving dish for the next step. Go ahead an mix the ingredients below the line together as well and set them to the side. You can skip the cornstarch and water if you like, they just make the sauce a little thicker. I would suggest making it without and adding it at the end if you decide its too thin.

Take the chicken out of the pot and place on top of the noodles or rice and cover with foil to keep it warm. I usually put the whole dish in a warmed but turned off oven for to keep it warm but I like my food to be quite hot. Turn the Crock Pot up to high.

Now, mix the ketchup mixture into the liquid in the Crock Pot and let it cook for a bit. I usually let it cook about 15 minutes or so. Much less and it doesn't get warm enough, longer and it might burn. Uncover your chicken and whatnot and pour the sauce over the whole shebang.

Eat. Yum.

Thats it. Easy peasy, no? This is what I would call medium spicy. If you like things to be a bit more spicy, I would suggest adding a little cayenne pepper or hot sauce to the ketchup mixture at the end. If you add it before you cook the chicken, it tastes... odd. Later is better.

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