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
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
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