Monday, January 30, 2006

Going Old School

Lately I've been reverting to my cooking roots ... buying a whole chicken, cutting it up, boning the breast, simmering a quick broth from the back and wings (and breast bone) to pop in the freezer, using the legs and thighs for another dish. All this for a little extra time and not too much more than paying for the boneless breasts ready to go from the store.

Of course, you have to be comfortable cutting up a chicken, but I'm all over that. After Tom watched me whack a bird apart one day he remarked that he could have used me to field dress game back when he and his brothers used to hunt.

I thought of this when I pulled those legs and thighs out this weekend to use in Pansy's Salsa Chicken recipe. I needed something that I could cook ahead of time and heat up later, when I got back from my weekly Sunday stint with the youth group.

This was perfect and, wonder of wonders, everyone liked it. Everyone!

I served it in flour tortillas with lettuce and a dab of sour cream ... with a salad and some refried beans on the side.
Salsa Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 lb), trimmed of fat
1-1/2 cups thick prepared salsa of your choice, medium or hot
1 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of pure ground red chile powder
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  1. Coat the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and arrange the chicken in it. Pour salsa over the chicken. Cover and cook on HIGH until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 3-3 1/2 hours. The chicken will make some of its own juice, thinnning out the salsa a bit.
  2. Stir in the cumin, chile powder, and lime juice, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes before serving.
My revisions to this very versatile recipe:
  • I used two chicken legs and thighs, on the bone, but skinned.
  • Cooked them on high for 3 hours.
  • Added at least one teaspoon chili powder (but the only salsa I had was mild)
  • Took the chicken out, removed it from the bone, shredded it.
  • Before serving, I heated it in a saucepan and cooked down the sauce some more so it wouldn't drip totally out of the tortillas.
  • I think that next time I might use 1 cup of salsa instead.

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