Mexican food always sounds good to me, and I particularly love the flavor of smoky chipotle added into as many dishes as possible. It’s one of those flavors that simply never gets old. And maybe that’s because it’s so multidimensional, being simultaneously smoky/spicy/earthy/with a hint of sweetness hanging out there in the background.
For a while I was pretty content making Salsa Chicken or Salsa Beef which are pretty much the easiest slow cooker recipes ever. You basically place the meat in the slow cooker, top with salsa, plug in the cooking time, and walk away.
And while I’m still rather fond of this method, I thought it might be time to shake things up a bit. So I kept thing simple with this recipe, just replacing the salsa with a little tomato paste and a few spices. It’s also super easy to make, and I can have this in the slow cooker in just 10 minutes flat!
I thought about going all out with fresh onions and garlic for a minute before realizing that no one including myself really wants to have to sauté onions before putting them into the slow cooker. That’s my biggest pet peeve about slow cooker recipes is that you have to cook them before placing them into the slow cooker to cook them some more, which seems like a lot of work to me.
So anyways… long story short, I just went with some spices including powdered onion and garlic for the ultimate simplicity.
The spices are whisked together with tomatoes paste and then some chicken stock. Then you place the chicken breasts into the slow cooker, decide whether you’re cooking on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours, and you’re done.
When you come back, you’ll have perfectly done chicken coated in a rich/lightly spicy tomato sauce. To shred the chicken, simply use 2 forks and pull the meat apart.
As you shred the chicken it will soak up all of the sauce, and from there you season it to taste with sea salt. This recipe makes about 8 servings of chicken, so it’s also a great freezer meal. Since there’s only 2 of us, I packaged out the leftovers into ziplocks, and labeled them for later use. Having part of dinner already pre-done like this and packaged in the freezer is a real life saver when things get extra hectic.
You can serve this chipotle chicken as part of anything Mexican you’d like. It’s great in Taco Bowls (recipe coming next week) or as a filling in enchiladas or quesadillas, and weirdly enough it’s great over a bed of greens with a side of guacamole and salsa for a dressing.
You can also use this chicken:
- In place of the shrimp in these Chipotle Rubbed Shrimp Tacos.
- Subbed in for the Ancho Chicken in these Taco Bowls.
- Instead of the salmon in these Fish Taco Lettuce Wraps.
- 2 Teaspoons ground chipotle chili powder
- 2 Teaspoons onion powder
- ½ Teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ Teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 Teaspoons sea salt, or to your taste
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 - 6 ounce can tomato paste, 10 Tablespoons
- 1 cup chicken stock, or water
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 2½ pounds
- Whisk together the spices, sea salt, honey, and tomato paste in a slow cooker. Whisk in a small amount of chicken stock at a time until the mixture isn't quite as thick before adding the rest of the chicken stock. Whisk until completely combined.
- Place the chicken breasts into the tomato/spice mixture and turn to coat both sides.
- Top the slow cooker with the lid and set the program for 4 hours on high heat or 8 hours on low heat.
- When the cooking time is done, use two forks to pull apart the meat into shreds.
- Serve immediately with your choice of sides. Rice/cauliflower rice are great along with taco toppings, like tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and grated cheese.
- Otherwise if you're not using the chipotle chicken right away, cool the meat completely in the refrigerator before packaging it into containers for the freezer. Freeze and use within 3 months. To defrost the meat, get the container out of the freezer the night before and place it in the refrigerator to thaw over the next 24 hours.
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