This is one of the easiest recipes I make. It does require a little forethought because you use a slow-cooker – I have a tendency to forget and wait too late to start everything. I got the original recipe from a woman I worked with – we used to have once-a-week team lunches where we’d cook something and eat together – this was my favorite. I did modify it to be a little healthier, and then I kicked it up a few notches by coming up with a solution to my cravings for chile rellenos.
I took a few pictures this time, to help illustrate. I’m such a sucker for a cookbook with lots of photos – I figure I’m probably not the only one.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (fresh or frozen)
- 1 jar of red salsa – any heat preference
- 1 cup of shredded Mexican blend or Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup of fat free sour cream (you can’t taste the difference – trust me!)
- 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
- 1 can of yellow corn, drained, or half a bag of frozen (optional)
- Tortillas (I prefer corn because they’re healthier but flour work too – 3-4 small corn or flour per person, or 2 large flour per person should work.)
If you want to try the stuffed chiles, add:
- 1 cup of cheese, for a total of 2 cups
- Pablano or Anaheim peppers – either work, I usually bet on 1 pablano per person, or 2 anaheims, sometimes 3 if they are really small.
(Depending on how many people you’re feeding, you’ll probably have extra filling if you do the peppers, so a small bag of tortillas will still come in handy for lunch leftovers the next day.)
- In the morning, dump your chicken breasts, trimmed of any fat, into the slow-cooker with the entire jar of salsa. Cook on low for 6-8 hrs or high for 4 hrs.
- Shred chicken with forks, in crockpot.
- Add black beans and corn, if desired, and let cook for another 20 minutes.
- If you’re sticking to the tacos, warm your tortillas by either popping them in a warm oven, wrapped in tinfoil, or brown them in a dry skillet over medium-high heat and place in tinfoil to keep warm.
- Turn slow-cooker off.
- Add 1 cup of cheese and the 1/2 cup of sour cream. Stir.
- For tacos/burritos, fill your tortillas and enjoy. We like to serve this with Spanish rice, chips, salsa and guacamole.
If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try the stuffed chiles, continue on…
- Turn your broiler on.
- Place the chiles on a baking sheet (I usually line mine with tinfoil for easy cleanup) and put them about 6 inches from the broiler.
- Do not leave them alone! I usually crack the oven and just watch. You’re looking for the skins to blacken – when they start to bubble and get dark, turn them a quarter turn and then repeat until the entire pepper is charred. Remove the peppers and turn the oven down to 450 degrees.
- Allow them to cool for a few minutes before handling. I prefer to do the next step with plastic gloves – my skin can’t handle the capsaicin.
- Gently peel the bubbled skin, removing as much as you can without tearing the flesh.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully cut a slit about 2 or 3 inches down the middle of the pepper. Try to avoid cutting through the other side or a complete slit from top to bottom – but if it happens, and it almost always does for at least one pepper, don’t worry – it will still work.
- Scoop out the seeds. This is the tricky part – I usually use a paring knife to gently release the big ball of seeds at the top, and then use a small spoon or my finger to work the rest out. I hate the crunch of a seed, so I’m pretty thorough on this step, but it’s not going to hurt you if a few seeds are left.
- Use a spoon to start scooping the filling into the peppers. I really shove it in there – the pepper does not need to close again.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese (about a cup) over the tops of the peppers. Depending on the amount of peppers you are using, you may not need the full cup. I just put enough to lightly cover the opening – when the cheese melts, it helps hold it all together.
- Pop the peppers back into the oven until the cheese melts, about 5-10 minutes. If you are feeling brave, and promise not to leave them alone, you can use your broiler for a faster result.
And that’s it! A little bit of prep work on the peppers and you now have a healthier alternative to the cheese-stuffed, battered and fried chile rellenos. And trust me, these are even better. Again, serve with spanish rice, chips, salsa, gaucamole – all the good stuff.