crockpot chicken base for enchiladas

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This chicken dish is a good starter for a large number of tender shredded chicken dishes. I call it a base because it is (to me at least) lightly seasoned and ready to be included in a number of quick cooking dishes.

This chicken base is seasoned for enchiladas, but you could easily adapt the basic recipe for other dishes. Just replace the seasonings with compatible spices for the final dish.

Examples:

  • For many Asian dishes the chicken could be seasoned with crushed garlic, ginger, and lemon grass.
  • For many Mediterranean dishes the chicken could be seasoned with whole garlic and citrus slices.
Servings:
8+
Preparation Time:
prep: 1/2 hour; cook: 8-10 hours; pack: 1/2 hour
Tools
  • 3+ qt. crockpot
  • 1 c. liquid measure
  • small bowl (for 1 T. of spices)
  • cutting board & knife
  • 2 medium bowls & lids (for cooked chicken pieces and broth)
  • fat separator

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. broth or stock
  • 1 whole, dry, New Mexico chile
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t. ea. kosher salt & onion powder
  • 1/2 t. gresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t. ea garlic powder & hot paprika
  • 1/8 t. cayanne pepper
  • 4 to 6 lb. chicken, skinned, separate parts
Cooking Instructions
  • Apply a light coat of cooking spray or oil to the crockpot to make it a little easier to clean up.
  • Measure out 1/2 c. of broth or stock and set aside. (Do not add to crockpot yet.)
  • Seed the N.M. chile, tear it into four or five pieces, add the chile pieces and the bay leaf to the broth. (Do not add the chile seeds. Save them for your garden.)
  • Add the kosher salt, onion powder, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and cayanne pepper to the small bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Butcher the chicken, removing the breast meat, and separating all of the leg and wing joints. (Discard the skin and accessible fat.)
  • Separate the back bones from the breast and crack the breast bones.
  • Place the back and breast bones and the wing tips into the bottom of the crockpot.
  • Sprinkle the spice mixture over the meat, turning to coat all sides.
  • Place thighs and legs on top of the back, place breasts on top of the thighs and legs, and place wings next to breasts. (The wings should be closer to the walls of the pot.)
  • Pour broth, chile, and bay leaf into the pot.
  • Wash up, then cover the pot and turn it on low.
  • Wait 8 to 10 hours for a smaller fryer, 10 to 12 for a larger roaster.
  • Remove the crock from the base and place on a hot pad or towel. (Placing the hot crock on a cold counter top can crack it.)
  • Remove the chicken pieces to a bowl to cool.
  • Pour the broth from the crockpot into a fat separator. Let stand for a few minutes.
  • Pour broth into bowl, cover, and refridgerate.
  • When chick is cool enough to touch, remove meat from bones.
  • Shread meat. Return meat to bowl. Cover and refridgerate.
Notes
I like to start this around 8:00pm the night before I need the chicken. In the morning I will shread the meat and separate the fat from the broth and save them for use in the dinner that night.

This dish can also be made quickly in the oven in a cast iron roasting pan or dutch oven. Preheat the oven to 200F for 30 minutes. Place the chicken in as before. Add 1 c. of broth instead of 1/2 c. Cover and place the pan in the oven for 3 hours. (Okay, relatively quickly. :-) The meat will not be quite as tender or taste quite as good, but it is still better than chopping up the chicken and cooking it in a frying pan.