Our Paleo Family

Creamy Salsa Chicken

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I might have mentioned before, once or twice, that I despise crock pot food. But much to my chagrin, my family’s schedule this fall necessitates this type of meal twice a week. TWICE A WEEK! Aaaak! I have succumbed and have made crock pot meals. I even intend to post the recipes here, but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet.

When you see pretty crock pot meal pictures on other websites, they are being deceptive. Food does not come out of a crock pot looking bright and pretty. I guess that’s why I’ve not posted these recipes yet. They taste good and serve the purpose of being hands off, but they are not the most beautiful of foods.

The process is so similar, but for some reason, a slow braise in a low temperature oven works the same as a crock pot, but (in my opinion) the flavor is far superior and the foods looks prettier.

I realize that some people are not comfortable leaving the house with their oven on. Maybe I shouldn’t do it, but I do – all the time – and so far so good. I really don’t see why it would be more dangerous to leave the oven on low than leave an electronic appliance plugged in and running. If there is a fireman or electrical engineer reading who would like to educate me on this, I’d love to know. It probably won’t make me stop doing it though.

Enough with the excuses about why I am not likely to post a lot of crock pot meals. This creamy, salsa chicken could be prepared in your crock pot, but I prepared it in my dutch oven (large, heavy pot) and baked it in my oven (large, hot appliance).

I am a stay-at-home mom, which means that I am in and out of my house all day long. If you are someone who leaves the house in the morning and doesn’t get home until dinner time, you are probably better off using a crock pot.

What makes this dish so special is the addition of the coconut milk. That little touch of creaminess really elevates the dish. And if you are going to make this in the crock pot, be sure not to skip the browning of the chicken (step 5 in the instructions below). It’s an important step that adds tons of flavor.

I think your family will love this and you will love how easy it is.

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P.S. Make this Whole 30 compliant by leaving out the coconut sugar.

Creamy Salsa Chicken
Print Recipe
A really flavorful alternative to the same old tacos.
Servings Prep Time
4-6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4-6 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4-6 hours
Creamy Salsa Chicken
Print Recipe
A really flavorful alternative to the same old tacos.
Servings Prep Time
4-6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4-6 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-6 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
4-6 hours
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  2. Place dutch oven over medium high heat on the stove and add oil. Swirl to coat bottom of pan.
  3. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Remove skin and any large pieces of visible fat.
  4. Combine all spices and sugar and mix well. Sprinkle this mixture over both sides of chicken and rub in.
  5. Add chicken to hot pan and sear well on each side. This takes 2-3 minutes per side.
  6. Once chicken is browned, pour salsa on top. Place lid on pan and pop it in the oven. If using a crock pot, transfer seared chicken to crockpot, pour salsa in hot pan, scrape up any browned bits, then transfer all the liquid to the crock pot.
  7. After 2 - 2 1/2 hours of cook time, remove pan from oven. If you can see a layer of fat on top of the sauce, use a ladle or large spoon to skim off as much of the fat as you can. Now turn each piece of chicken over. Add coconut milk and gently stir in.* Replace lid and put it back in the oven. (You can see in this picture that I left the skin on and there was a lot of fat in the pan. That's why I recommend removing the skin.)
  8. Your chicken will be done in about 4 hours, but it can go as long as 6 and still be perfectly delicious. That's the beauty of dark meat. If you wanted to leave this all day, I would bake at a lower temperature, say 175 degrees, or use a crock pot.
  9. Pull your pan out, remembering that it is hot!!!! Carefully take each piece of chicken from the pot and using two forks shred the chicken off the bones. Add chicken back to pot and discard bones. Stir chicken in with the sauce.
  10. Serve as you would tacos: with lettuce, guacamole, additional salsa, plantain chips, etc. Alternatively, you can eat this as you would a stew with a simple green salad on the side.
Recipe Notes

I haven't often seen bone in, skin off chicken thighs in my store. I just buy bone in, skin on and then take the skin off. It takes about two seconds per piece of chicken. You can buy boneless, skinless thighs, but with a slow braise, you get a lot of flavor and nutrition from the bones, so I highly recommend buying bone-in. If you prefer white meat, you could use chicken breasts for sure, but it will be dry and not as succulent as the thighs will be.

*If you aren't home in the middle of the cooking time and able to add the coconut milk at that time, you can add it right before you serve dinner. Once you pull the chicken out of the sauce, stir in the coconut milk, place pan over medium heat on the stove and allow it to reduce a little, about 10 minutes. Then add the chicken back in.

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