Sunday, May 11, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas

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To be honest, celebrating Cinco De Mayo really doesn't register high on the to-do list for our household. It was different when we were single, dating and childless...these days it's remarkable for me to remember it's actually May, much less which day it is!

However, this year I at least got it together enough to plan a Mexican-inspired meal on May 5 (it was a fortuitous accident in menu planning) and I thought I'd share it with you because it turned out so delicious and fabulously easy. It's also perfect for a crowd, you can double or triple it and it's great on sandwiches, in tortillas or just piled on a plate sprinkled with hot sauce.

Carnitas are amazing, but not the healthiest of meat choices, so this recipe I found over at Closest Cooking not only offers similar flavor in a healthier chicken option, but also makes it super-easy by incorporating the slow-cooker. I can't wait to whip this recipe out again and again this summer when I'm depending on my slow-cooker for meals to avoid heating up my kitchen using the oven!

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas

Ingredients
1-2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts or thighs
Juice of 3 oranges
Juice of 2-3 limes (you want about 1/4 cup)
4 cloves of garlic (minced or grated)
1 tbsp. chipotle chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
Salt & pepper

Instructions
Season the chicken well on both sides with salt and pepper before placing in the slow-cooker. In a separate bowl mix together the fruit juices and seasonings. Whisk well to combine, then pour over chicken and cook on low for 6-8 hours (my chicken was perfect in 7).

Remove the chicken from the slow-cooker and shred it, then mix in about 1/4 cup of the juices from the slow-cooker before spreading it out on a baking sheet in a single layer (use more than one sheet if you need to) and broil on high for 5-7 minutes until you see it starting to crisp.

Remove from the oven and stir in another 1/4 cup of juice and broil for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in the remaining juice before serving.

Serving Options: I served this up on flour tortillas with fresh tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream. It would be fantastic as the base for nachos, included in a quesadilla or even just on a toasted bun pulled-pork style. Add some diced red onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime for extra flavor to any of these dishes!

*Barely adapted from Closet Cooking


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