Friday, August 1, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga and Mexican Restaurant Style Rice!

It's hard to find slow cooker recipes that I both love and are truly fix it and forget it.  A lot of recipes require browning meat on the stove and other extra steps when I just want something where I can toss a bunch of stuff into the slow cooker and ignore it for several hours.  This recipe comes very close to accomplishing that.  But, it involves some pre-cooking food processor use. I sped things up by chopping the onion and garlic pretty coarsely. This meal will make your kitchen smell fantastic.  The chicken is tender, the sauce is complex.  Slightly spicy, slightly earthy, and this recipe makes a ton of it so you can put it on rice if you wnant.  The original recipe suggested serving with tortillas or over rice.  I love Mexican restaurant style rice. I decided to try and make some on a whim.  I googled a bunch of recipes and they all called for things I didn't have.  So I improvised and it turned out really well!

The rice is not terribly quick so if you're really in a hurry, serving the chicken with tortillas would be your best bet.  I suspect that the chicken and sauce would work well as leftovers or maybe even freeze.  That said, I have little experience with leftovers, but I'm trying to remedy that.

The original recipe called for 3 pounds of chicken, so it was definitely not for two people.  I used two chicken breasts and halved the sauce. The sour cream and avocado are optional but I think the sour cream really added to the flavor of the dish.  The avocado was good too, but I think that mine was slightly funky (thanks, Safeway).

Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga
From Thirty Handmade Days
Serves 2 with lots of sauce


2 14 ounce cans of diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, seeded
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
avocado (optional)
sour cream (optional)


1) Put the chicken breasts in the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper.

2) Put tomatoes, chipotles, onion, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar in a food processor and blend well.  Then pour it over the chicken.

3) Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

4) Serve with cilantro sprinkled on top and over rice or with warm tortillas.

5) Top with avocado and/or sour cream.

Mexican Restaurant Style Rice
Original recipe based on a ton of different ones I read
Makes a lot of rice for two people


1.5 cups basmati rice
~ 2 cups of chicken stock and a little more to add if the rice gets too dry.
Half of a small can of tomato paste
1 plum tomato, peeled (cut an X in the bottom and toss in a bowl of boiling water for a minute or two to peel)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp medium chili powder
salt to taste
A few shakes of dried jalapeno pepper (or a fresh one, I didn't have one)
Juice from 1 or 2 limes depending on how tangy you like your rice
2 Tbsp chipped cilantro
3 Tbsp canola oil


1) Put the onion in a food processor with the tomato and the tomato paste.  Blend until well mixed.  Add chicken stock until it looks like there's a cup and a half of liquid.

2) Put the liquid in a pot and add the remaining stock, cumin, chili powder, salt, and dried jalapenos.  Bring to a boil.

3) Heat the canola oil in a separate pot over high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the rice and cook until it's toasty. This took about 5 minutes for me.  Then add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the boiling tomato mixture to the rice and stir well.

4) Turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook the rice until the liquid is evaporated and the rice is cooked.  This took me about 15 minutes.  At about the 10 minute mark, I added a few more splashes of chicken stock to keep the rice moist because the liquid evaporated a little too quickly and the rice wasn't cooked enough.

5) When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and let it sit (still covered) for about 5 minutes.  Then stir in the lime juice and cilantro and serve.

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