Well. here it is! The only chicken recipe you will ever need for all your Mexican food needs. Delicious eaten on its own, in enchiladas or tacos, on salads, in soup… or any of your other favorite Mexican recipes. When cooked on bulk on the weekend, it makes for extremely quick and easy weeknight cooking, which is exactly what I did: I made this on Sunday, and have since made tortilla soup and plan on making burrito bowls for dinner this week!
I set out to recreate Chipotle’s grilled chicken to make homemade burrito bowls (chicken, beans, salsa, guacamole, etc. all piled on top of cilantro lime brown rice) and, after doing some research on copycat recipes, found myself without a vital ingredient: chipotle peppers in adobo. I was a bit torn about what to do on Sunday afternoon when I started to make this, because Zach and I had made a commitment to have as relaxing a weekend as possible after a particularly difficult week at work. And the only place close to us that had the key ingredient was… (commence Darth Vadar music) Market Basket.
If any of you are from the Boston area, you probably know that Market Basket on a Sunday afternoon is not exactly a “relaxing” place. On any given day or time, you will find yourself unable to push a cart down the aisles and waiting at least 20 minutes in line to check out. On a Sunday afternoon, it may as well be that the Zombie apocalypse is upon us and every person residing within a 10-mile radius of Market Basket is stocking up for survival.
And so, I improvised!
Canned chipotle peppers in adobo are an excellent ingredient to have in your pantry, and next time I see them I’m definitely going to stock up (not for the Zombie apocalypse- but just because they are tasty). This time, however, to get a similarly smoky taste, I substituted with smoked paprika, and was incredibly pleased with the results.
So pleased, in fact, that I ended up nibbling on quite a bit of it as I was shredding the chicken. And so did Zach. Oops!
I plan on making this very frequently from now on, and next time I make it I will probably make a double batch so I can put some in make-ahead frozen burritos. Is next week too soon to do make it again? I think not :-)
Smoky Mexican Pulled Chicken
- Cut breasts / thighs in half, so you have pieces about two-three inches wide.
- To make marinade, mix spices, garlic, olive oil, and lime juice in a gallon-sized ziplock bag or container.
- Add chicken to marinade, seal and shake bag to coat, or stir in container and cover. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or as long as overnight.
- Heat some olive oil in a large skillet (one or two tablespoons) on medium-high heat. Add chicken; sear on one side and do not flip until seared. Flip to other side and sear, until chicken is cooked through (approximately 3-4 minutes on each side). Since you will be shredding the chicken anyway, feel free to cut into it to check for doneness :-)
- Remove from heat; shred with two forks to use in your favorite Mexican dish.