Full disclosure: the slow cooker is not my favorite kitchen gadget. It’s convenient to have dinner ready the minute I’m home from work, for sure, but I find most recipes I try wind up tasting dull and muddled, no matter how much I’ve seasoned my ingredients. Happily, this Southwestern-style chicken ended up interesting and flavorful (a kick of lime juice and hot sauce at the end brightens everything up), with sweet corn and mild poblano peppers. I’m officially adding it to my list of slow cooker favorites (my braised lamb shanks and pulled pork, respectively), and any recipes you can recommend, friends, I’d love to try those, too.
Since there’s just two of us at my house, there were lots of leftovers, so I shredded the remaining chicken (discarding the skin and mixing in some of the sauce) and froze in zip-top bags. Tomorrow night I’ll fold black beans into the defrosted chicken to make a filling for a big casserole of enchiladas verde, and later I’ll toss the rest into a small batch of white bean chili. I may have to rethink my stance on the crockpot.
Slow Cooker Chicken Poblano
adapted from Gourmet, 2009; serves 6-8
- six whole chicken legs
- one large white onion, sliced
- 6-8 fat garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 lb (about 5) fresh poblanos (stems, seeds & ribs removed), chopped
- kernels from 4 large ears of corn (or one 12 oz bag frozen corn)
- 3 serrano chiles (stems, seeds & ribs removed), minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- kosher salt and ground black pepper
- fresh lime juice, to taste
- lots of hot sauce, to taste (I used green Tabasco)
- rice or polenta, for serving
The night before, rinse and pat dry the chicken legs. Season the chicken with a tablespoon of kosher salt. Refrigerate. Prep the vegetables and aromatics.
In the morning, layer the prepped onions and garlic in the insert of your slow cooker. Over medium-high heat, warm two tablespoons of vegetable oil. In batches, brown the chicken legs on both sides; transfer to the slow cooker. Top the chicken with the poblanos and corn. Set your slow cooker for 4-12 hours, depending on your setting and the manufacturer’s directions. (I set mine for 10 hours on low; six hours on low will yield the best texture.)
When ready to serve, transfer the chicken (it will be falling be off the bone) to a shallow bowl or serving platter. To the cooking liquid, whisk in the sour cream, oregano, cilantro, hot sauce and a squeeze of lime juice. Taste and correct the seasonings to your liking. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with rice, extra limes and cilantro.
Note: to freeze the leftovers, discard the bones and skin and shred the chicken, mixing into the cooking liquid. Transfer to gallon-sized freezer zip-top bags, seal and lay flat on a baking sheet; freeze for an hour or two until solid and remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Freezing tends to flatten salt and seasonings, so you may want to doctor the chicken a bit when reheating.