Thursday, January 1, 2015

Slow Cooker Green Chilaquilies

If you ever find yourself with guests over the holidays and want to do a unique brunch or breakfast type meal for dinner, try these chilaquiles. You could also have them for breakfast or brunch, but you would need to prepare them the night before. The recipe looks very long, but it is not difficult. This is because you have the choice of three different varieties of chilaquiles, which I describe in the recipe. You could choose red, green, or mole. You will need a few different items for each recipe, but overall they are all very simple. It is one easy recipe, designed to fit your crowd's liking. And, best of all, it's easily prepared in a slow cooker! My current slow cooker is the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. It's truly a beautiful kitchen appliance, and it is a breeze to work with. I highly recommend that you check it out for yourself. Every kitchen should have one!

I actually think that these chilaquiles taste better the next day, so you could easily prepare them while cooking dinner, watching a movie, or playing board games with your friends. Or just hanging out, having a drink and relaxing. It does take about six hours to complete this meal. But it refrigerates well, and it tastes awesome the next day. So, toss it together when you are spending quality time with your friends and family, let it do its thing and enjoy the next day. All you will have to do in the morning is fry up the fresh tortillas and chop the avocados, onions, and cilantro. Toss some cheese and crema on, and you are good to go. Enjoy! Or rather, Buen Provecho! Again, please visit the Hamilton Beach website and check out all of their cool products. You won't be disappointed!

Slow Cooker Green Chilaquilies (with the Option to Make Red or Mole)
by Chris
Adapted from Chicken Chilaquiles, The Shady Porch

3 - 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, defrosted (enough to sit in the bottom of your slow cooker without overlapping too much)
Cooking spray
3 - 4 Tablespoons chicken stock
Hispanic hot sauce of your choice (I used Achiote)
Liquid smoke (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 packet of Sazon, if available (if not, Latin/Hispanic seasonings to your taste - cumin, cayenne, chile powder, etc., about 1 Tablespoon)
Kosher salt
2 - 3 Tablespoons of oil (your choice), for sautéing
2 cups chopped onions
Minced garlic/garlic powder, cumin, and other seasonings of your choice (optional, to be used with the onions)
4 cups of sauce (your choice, see below), plus add-ins (depending on which recipe you use)
2 cups chicken stock
3 - 4 handfuls of unsalted tortilla chips, as intact (large chips) as possible (about 1/2 of a 14- to 15-ounce bag)
1 large bag of corn tortillas (at least 3 tortillas for each person eating), cut into quarters or six pieces
Oil for frying tortillas - corn, vegetable, canola, etc (enough to cover the bottom of a large skillet/frying pan)
Avocado (optional, for serving)
Extra diced or sliced onion (optional, for serving)
Cilantro, chopped (optional, for serving)
Queso Fresco/Blanco (feta will work, if you can't find the others), crumbled (for serving)
Crema Mexicana (or sour cream)

You need to decide which type of chilaquiles you will be making - red, green, or mole. You will need the following for the one you choose:

Red - 1/2 a can of Ro-tel tomatoes and green chiles; 4 cups of red enchilada sauce or salsa
Green - 1 small can chopped/diced green chiles; 4 cups of green enchilada sauce or salsa
Mole - 1/2 cup extra diced onions; 4 cups of prepared mole sauce

*The add-ins can be anywhere from 4 to 7 ounces, they will all cook down about the same. Feel free to add a little garlic, cumin, etc., during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking the onion mixture, if you'd like.

Spray the interior of your slow cooker well with cooking spray. Add 3-4 Tablespoons of chicken stock, about a Tablespoon of your preferred hot sauce, and 4-5 drops of liquid smoke (if using) to the pot and stir. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Cover generously with freshly ground black pepper. Then sprinkle half of the packet of Sazon (or about 1/2 Tablespoon of your seasoning mix) over the chicken. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and press all seasonings into the chicken. Flip the chicken over and repeat the seasoning process: Black pepper, Sazon/seasoning and salt. Again, press into the chicken meat. If you have any extra Sazon or spice mixture, feel free to add it to the liquid in the slow cooker at this time. Take the seasoned chicken and place it in the slow cooker, turning it in the liquid once or twice to coat. When all chicken is in the slow cooker, cover with the lid and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours.

After 1 1/2 hours of cooking on high heat, quickly open the slow cooker and flip the chicken over. Replace the lid, and set to cook for another 1 1/2 hours. While the chicken is cooking, decide on which sauce that you would like to use. You have three choices - green, red, or mole. Follow the instructions listed below for the type of sauce that you would like. Do your prep work while the chicken is cooking. Sauté your onions and other add-ins in the 2 - 3 Tablespoons of oil.

After 3 hours total, remove the chicken from the slow cooker, allow to cool for a bit, and shred. Leave your slow cooker on the warm setting while finishing up your sauces, add-ins, and chicken.

*For red chilaquiles, sauté 2 cups of diced onion with 1/2 a can of Ro-tel (tomatoes and chiles, drained.)

*For green chilaquiles, sauté 2 cups of onions with 1 small can of diced/chopped green chiles (drained.)

*For mole chilaquiles, sauté 2 1/2 cups diced onion.

Sauté any of these combinations for about 6-7 minutes over medium/medium-high heat, until onions are translucent and soft and the add-ins have dried out a bit. At this point, prepare your sauce/salsa. I personally prefer enchilada sauce to salsa, although some people do like salsa better. It really is up to you - use what you have or prefer. Either way, you will need about 4 cups of your chosen sauce/salsa (if using canned enchilada sauce, use 2 15-ounce cans. The excess amount will be added by the Ro-tel/chiles/onions.) If you are making mole chilaquiles, follow the directions on your jarred mole sauce in order to have 4 cups ready to put into the slow cooker. The mole will cook down and become thicker, so do make sure that it is fairly thin to begin with (or prepare a bit more, maybe 5 cups, just to be sure that your chilaquilies don't dry out.)

When all of your prep work is done, place the onion mixture, sauce, shredded chicken, and the 2 cups of chicken stock into the slow cooker. Cover and allow to cook for 1 hour on high heat.

Open the slow cooker, stir well, and add the 1/2 bag of unsalted chips. Gently mix them into the chilaquiles, trying not to break them up. Cover them with the sauce but do not break them! Set the slow cooker to low heat, and let cook for 30 minutes.

While the slow cooker is on low, begin preparing to serve. Take 2-3 corn tortillas for each person and cut into quarters or sixths. Pour frying oil into skillet and heat over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering hot, add tortilla pieces and fry, about 30-45 seconds per side. Remove and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle salt lightly on fried chips while they are warm. Repeat this process as many times as necessary in order to have enough fresh chips (2-3 tortillas) for each person. Also slice or chop your avocado, cilantro, and extra onion. Bring out your cheese and cream.

To plate the chilaquiles, simply put the freshly fried tortilla pieces on a plate or in a large bowl. Spoon the desired amount of slow-cooked chicken on top, and garnish as desired with avocado, cilantro, onion, crumbled cheese, and crema. Serve with refried beans, nopalitos (cactus), more tortilla chips, or whatever else your group likes. Enjoy!

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