Saturday, October 6, 2018

Slow-Cooked Southwestern-Style Chicken

5 lbs. chicken legs or thighs or drumsticks (rinsed, skinned and most fat removed)
2 large bell peppers (seeded and cut into inch-square pieces
2 onions (rough-chopped)
8 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tbs. dry oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tbs. salt
1/2 tsp. ground arbol chili pepper (or cayenne to taste)
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
3-4 bay leaves
1/2 cup chunky salsa

Chicken legs are where the flavor is. Breasts are fine, if you like 'em, but more of a tabula rasa, and bland. They also tend to not do well in slow cookers, and can get dry and stringy. Feel free to substitute them in this recipe, if you like, but you've been warned.

After you skin, wash and remove as much fat as you can, put the legs in a large stainless steel bowl. Drain excess liquid and add the rest of the ingredients except the salsa and bay leaves. Mix well by hand or with a spatula (or whatever implement you like). Make sure the seasonings are evenly distributed over the chicken and the onions, minced garlic and peppers are in the mix, too.

Layer the legs in the slow-cooker, with onions and peppers, placing bay leaves between pieces. Cover with salsa. Cook on low for an hour, then low 4-5 hours. Temperatures vary on slow cookers, so be careful not to overcook.

You can serve these legs with rice, refried beans, guac and chips, or strip the meat from the bones and use for tacos, burritos or (my preference) enchiladas. You can also cool 'em and make chicken salad.


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