My step-mother, Brenda, is a super woman who has always kept her family with bellies full of delicious home-cooked food. I swear, everything she made in her kitchen tasted amazing. She’s one of those people who just has that magic touch. I always looked forward to dinner in her house when I was a kid. (And dessert. Let’s please not forget about her incredible, mind-blowing desserts.)
So when she told me a few weeks ago about this new favorite slow cooker recipe she’s been making, I knew I had to give it a shot. She only told me what goes in it (not the amounts), and I had to improvise a bit with what I had on hand, but I think this version will do her justice.
Now, before I share the recipe, I feel like I owe you guys a bit of an explanation. I know I recently posted about my favorite slow cooker recipes, all of which come from the same Judith Finlayson book. In that post, I talked about the art of actual cooking with your slow cooker, rather than just tossing everything in and forgetting about it. Normally when I use my slow cooker, I do a lot of prep work. I sear meats, saute vegetables, and grind whole spices. I have made some serious, gourmet quality meals in the thing, really I have.
However, this is not always how I use it. Sometimes I don’t have the time or energy for all that work. Sometimes it is nice to be able to simply throw things in and walk away, and sometimes the results of this are truly fab. The following recipe is a perfect example of that. Just like with Charlie’s pot roast recipe “Frozen to Yum“, you use frozen meat. According to Brenda, this was an absolute must, because the water content in the frozen chicken makes for a delicious, mouth-watering broth. I wasn’t going to question her on that. Good thing, ’cause she was right!
Tip: I have found that when I do cook things in my slow cooker without doing all the prep work, that they turn out better if I cook them for 4 hours on high rather than 8 hours on low. The onions and other vegetables keep a better texture. This is just an observation, and has not been scientifically tested.
Slow Cooker Spicy Shredded Chicken and Beans
makes about 10 servings
2.5-3 lbs frozen (Must be frozen!) chicken breasts or tenders
2 cans beans, drained and rinsed (I used kidney. Black or pinto would be great.)
1 28 oz can tomatoes*
1 cup salsa
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 Tb diced jalapeno* (I used the canned stuff. I keep any left over in the freezer.)
1/4 cup chili powder (My favorite is the Chili 3000 from Penzey’s. I buy it in bulk.)
2 Tb ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz cream cheese (completely optional, and to be added in last 30 minutes)
Rice or tortilla shells and whatever you like to go with them
1. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, salsa, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. In a 5.5 or 6 quart slow cooker (a bigger slow cooker will cook this faster, a smaller one will cook it slower), add first the frozen chicken, then onions, then beans, and top with the tomato mixture.
3. Cover and cook on high for 3.5 hours, or if you need to, on low for 7.5.
4. After 3.5 hours have passed, remove the chicken from the crock, and shred it. (The shredded chicken absorbs most of the broth.) Add the chicken back in, and mix in the cream cheese. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Cook for 30 minutes more.
That’s it! A super easy, and super delicious meal that your family will all love.
*Note: The version I made (as written) is fairly mild, with just a little kick. If you want it spicier, add more jalapeno, or just add some hot sauce to your individual serving. Also, you may use an additional 28 oz (or so) of salsa in place of the tomatoes. If so, then omit the chili powder and cumin.
If you make it, please tell me how it turned out for you.