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Slow Cooker Dead Easy Mexican Chicken

February 24, 2012

Ok – it didn’t take long for Jilly to come up with this one – we like things hot and spicy in the kitchen!

From trying one limpid bottle of hot sauce a few years ago to now having several bottles that vary in hotness from mild and piquant to sheer gustatory suicide, we have tried many. Hot sauces are all made of different kinds of hot peppers, something I did not grow up with. I don’t think in our northern clime we have enough experience yet with peppers. At least I didn’t, so I had to look up how and why peppers vary in their degree of hotness. Capsaicin is the ingredient that makes a pepper hot. You may find it interesting to know that the degree of hotness in any recipe is described as the Hot Pepper Heat Index and the Scoville Scale is the measure of the amount of capsaicin a pepper contains.

Here’s a link to the preeminent expert on the Hot Pepper Heat Index that explains it all (nice graphics):  http://www.armadillopeppers.com/hot-pepper-heat-index.html

If you have cooked with hot peppers at all, you are probably familiar with the need to wear gloves when you slice and dice or you will get that hotness into any cut on your finger, into your eyes,  or anywhere else your hands go, so be careful, Ladies and Gents.

Hint: If a dish is incredibly hot, most people instinctively want to take a glass of water. Something to do with how heat is interpreted as pain along a cranial nerve, but I’ll leave that to the anatomists. The real trick is to grab a bun or cracker as that settles down the hotness very quickly.

In the meantime, try this very quick and easy recipe for a little – or a lot – of heat in your kitchen.

Slow Cooker Dead Easy Mexican Chicken

1 (16 ounce) jar medium salsa

1 (1.25 ounce) package dry taco seasoning mix

½ tsp cumin or to taste

½ tsp chilli powder

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 lime, juiced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro                                                                     

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into thirds

If you want to hot it up, add additional peppers or hot sauce of your choice.

Directions

Place the salsa, taco seasoning, cumin, chilli powder, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro into a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Add the chicken breasts, and stir to coat with the salsa mixture. Cover the cooker, set to High, and cook until the chicken is very tender, about 4 hours. Add the hot peppers or hot sauce in the last hour of cooking so that the flavours meld.

If desired, set cooker to Low and cook 6 to 8 hours. Shred chicken with two forks to serve.

Serve with Spanish rice, fresh rolls and additional lime to squeeze over chicken, if desired. Cold beer is the beverage of choice when it comes to all things hot.

Enjoy!

 

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