Crock Pot Mexican Pulled Chicken

I dedicate this blog to my foodie champion mom Vicki Smith.  Since I lost my little girl, Ezraela on 12.31.2013 at 18 weeks pregnant, I have not felt like cooking, much less posting a food blog.  However, every time I did post a picture of what I made for dinner(as I realized eating out every night probably couldn't continue unless you were indeed a Gilmore Girl with very high metabolism and a rocket high food budget), she was the first to tell me how amazing it looked.  Her sweet daughter, Jamie Rose Smith (who is one of my IC sisters) told me the other day that her mom gets so excited when I post those pictures.  So, Vicki, this one is for you.  This is definitely a milestone towards recovery for me.  

 Get In My Belly!
Mexican food is a staple in our house.  And when we go out to eat, half of the time it is to a Mexican restaurant.  Sometimes we eat it once a week and sometimes we eat it four times a week.  Why, you may ask?  First of all, it is usually quick and easy to throw together.  Second, it's flavors are deceptively simple.  I say deceptively, because you think putting pulled chicken, black beans, a little bit of cilantro, some sweet potatoes (Yes, I said sweet potatoes.  They are amazing in almost everything.), guacamole, and a dollop of FAGE Greek yogurt on a corn tortilla shouldn't taste that good, but it does.  It tastes so good it is broaching on sinful.  Third, it's actually pretty healthy as long as you don't go crazy with the cheese and guacamole.  Fourth, EVERYONE likes it.  The fourth point is probably the most important since I live in a house with semi-picky eaters.  

Unfortunately for me, when we eat Mexican out at a restaurant I am limited to what I can order.  Oh, the joy of having medical dietary restrictions.  If the waiters are Hispanic in my experience they typically do not speak a lot of English.  I am not judging them for this, but it is simply a fact.  (I love the El Nopal we go to.  We have been there so much they have literally watched my three year old grow up.  It's scary that it is almost our second kitchen home).  Any time I have attempted to ask questions about the food they always tell me "Yes" or "No" with a blank look on their face.  (Shoot, some of the English speaking waiters do the same thing at other restaurants).  I have trusted their words a few times and have ended up with way to spicy, flare igniting foods.  I have learned to stick with a cheese quesadilla and a side of beans.  (I have also learned which restaurants that have the same name water down their beans and which ones don't...)  It's really good that I like cheese quesadillas and beans.  I missed the days of being able to order a taco or a chimichanga (my absolute favorite), so I made it my mission to come up with tasty Mexican meals at home.  

I almost burnt my chicken because I was too busy taking pictures.  I don't recommend that!
My Mexican Pulled Chicken has become one of my favorite go to recipes.  I have been making it for years, but just recently have added a top secret step that will blow your mind.  Okay, not really, but I am convinced it makes or breaks a crock pot dish.  It's not necessarily a new step because my mom always browns her roasts in the oven in a cast iron skillet before she puts them in the crock pot.  I do not have a cast iron skillet, so mine never turned out as tasty as hers.  One day when my daughter and I were watching "The Chew", I discovered that you could brown your meat on the stove top in oil before you put it into the crock pot.  This simple step adds so much extra flavor to your meal, you probably will never go back to just throwing chicken in the crock pot again.  (Unless your child-or dog, or boss, or husband-is particularly whiny or throwing tantrums one day, in which I completely understand and will not judge at all).  

Your chicken stock should just cover the chicken.
Without further ado, here is my Mexican Pulled Chicken recipe.  

Ingredients:
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper (if you cannot tolerate this, omit or use a red, yellow or orange one)
  • 1/2 Head of Garlic
  • 1/8-1/4 Cup of Olive Oil (If your family likes coconut oil, you can use this as well)
  • 3 Chicken Breasts, Halved
  • 1-2 Cups of Chicken Broth (I use Simple Nature from Aldi)
  • 1 TBSP of Onion Powder
  • 2 TBSPs of Paprika
  • 2 TBSPs of Cumin
  • 2 TBSPs of Garlic Powder 
*Note:  Not everyone with interstitial cystitis (IC) can have the same spices or ingredients.  If you are making this for someone with IC make sure you ask them what they can and cannot have.  Please do not assume you know their diet because if one thing is added that will trigger a flare for them, they won't be able to enjoy the meal.  And if you are making this for someone with IC, thank you for attempting to make something they can eat.  I am always super flattered when someone serves a dish that they know is safe for me.   It makes my bladder smile. 

From this
To This = So Easy!!
Directions:

1.  Pour olive oil in a large skillet and set to a medium/high heat. 

2.  Cut up a medium sized green pepper.  The pieces can be big.  (if you cannot have this you can omit all together or use a red, orange or yellow bell pepper.  My husband does not like onions in this dish, but they do add a lot of extra flavor.  So, if you can tolerate it, use one medium onion as well.).

3.  Take the skin off of half of a head of garlic.

4.  Throw the green pepper and garlic in food processor and pulverize.  (I use a mini food processor for this.  If you do not have a food processor, you can mince them.  My daughter is not a fan of peppers, so this is how I hide them from her.  Mwah ha ha!)

5.  Put pulverized garlic and pepper in the skillet.  

6.  Turn up the heat a little bit on the skillet and add halved chicken breasts.

*Tip:  move the peppers and onions out of the way so that the chicken is sitting directly on the skillet.  Otherwise, they may not brown correctly.

7.  While chicken is browning, put chicken broth in the crock pot along with your cumin, paprika, garlic and onion powder and mix with a fork or whisk.  

*Note:  Make sure you check with your IC guest on the type of chicken broth they can use.  If they can't use any, you can easily substitute with water.  Also check on the spices.  

8.  Once the chicken is nicely browned (be careful to watch it closely so it doesn't burn), transfer it from the skillet into the crock pot.  Use a little water or chicken stock to deglaze the pan so you are able to get all of the browned juices from the bottom of the skillet.

9.  Make sure the chicken is just covered (it doesn't even have to be covered all of the way) with chicken stock.

10.  Set crock pot on high for 3 hours (or less) or low for 6-8 hours to let chicken cook through.

11.  Once chicken is done transfer it to a bowl and pull the chicken apart with two forks.  I usually add a little of the chicken broth from the crock pot to the chicken so that it doesn't get dry.  

At the end add a little of the extra chicken broth into the pulled chicken.  You won't regret it.
What to pair with your Mexican Pulled Chicken (served in corn or whole wheat tortillas):

  • Roasted Zucchini (Chop up to desired size.  Toss in olive oil and sea salt.  Roast in the oven on 420-425 for 20 minutes and toss halfway through.  This is not my original recipe, one of my mama friends introduced me to zucchini in Mexican.  My life is forever changed)
  • Sweet Potatoes (you could roast or I peel and dice mine and boil for ten minutes)
  • Fresh Corn from the Cob
  • FAGE Greek Yogurt (healthy substitute for Sour Cream)
  • Black Beans
  • Spinach or Romaine Lettuce
  • Guacamole made from Avocado, Garlic Powder and Sea Salt
  • Cheese (I have been omitting cheese from my tacos lately.  I find with everything else, I don't even miss it!)
  • Fresh Cut Cilantro
  • My three year old added cinnamon to leftover chicken the other night and ate every bit of it.  I'm not sure I would recommend it!
What do you like to add to your homemade Mexican food? 

Comments

  1. This sounds delicious and quite easy to make. Thanks for sharing this.

    Simon

    ReplyDelete

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