A light, bright tequila chicken recipe in the slow cooker, with lots of fresh lime flavor and just the right balance of spices.
Tequila and me, we weren’t always on friendly terms.
I had a memorable encounter with the stuff, the really cheap kind, during a Caribbean cruise when I was too young to legally drink it here in the U.S. And it did not sit well.
And for years, literally, years and years, I wouldn’t touch the stuff. Hated even the smell of it.
Recently, my husband challenged me that I might, just maybe, be able to drink good tequila now that I’m older. And more responsible. (Or so I tell myself.)
So I made us some fresh, from-scratch margaritas on Cinco de Mayo – and they were delicious! Hubby was kind-of impressed, I think, given my utter unfamiliarity.
That weekend, spurred on by my new-found love of tequila, I made this tequila chicken for the first time. I wanted a slow cooker version so I could just let it go all day long while we were playing and running around. (And because I vowed to use my slow cooker all spring and summer!)
We devoured it that night! The sunshine, the fresh air and the lingering weekend vibes really made this seem so bright and fresh.
You’ll get a great hit of lime, a good dose of chili and cumin spices running through it and just an undertone of tequila. I served it as a rice bowl, but you could absolutely make tacos or enchiladas with this too.
Hubby laughed at me, though, because I used our really good tequila to make this. It was all we had!
So now I have a bottle of regular tequila just to use in cooking – don’t I feel like a tequila connoisseur all of a sudden!
I made this again a few weeks later and took half of the batch to a friend who just had a baby girl. I figured, what does a new mom need if not to catch up on all the alcohol she missed for the last 9 months? Kidding. Sort of.
If you are a Mexican food junkie like me, and especially if you have a soft spot for margaritas, you will love this easy tequila chicken.
(Which you should, of course, serve with some margaritas.)
- 4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup tequila (preferably a dark tequila)
- Zest of 1 lime
- Juice of 4 limes, divided
- Juice of 2 oranges
- 1 jalapeno, membranes and seeds removed, finely chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped (a heaping cup or so)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- For serving: brown rice, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, avocado slices
- Combine all of the ingredients, reserving one lime for later, in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
- Remove the chicken, shred with two forks then stir it back into the sauce. (It will seem like a lot of sauce but the chicken soaks up almost all of it.)
- Squeeze the juice of the remaining lime over the chicken and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve over brown rice and top with Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro and avocado slices. (Or use for tacos or enchiladas.)
This recipe makes a lot! It freezes great - I just pop the extra shredded chicken and some juice from the slow cooker into a labeled Ziploc freezer bag. You can use the extras for tacos and enchiladas, burritos or even with a salad.
Of course, you can easily halve the recipe, too, if you prefer.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 478Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 630mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 9gProtein: 58g