When I slipped into my hostess *dress and threw a Mexican fiesta meets late ‘80s slumber party, this smoky chipotle brown sugar pulled chicken stole the show. I glanced ‘round my dinner table and smiled, my friends licking sticky fingertips while I, well, I licked the chipotle glaze that dripped, saucy and sweet, down my forearm and puddled at my elbow.
*By dress I mean pajamas.
Mmms and aaaahhhs and sighs and smiles and stains.
The chicken had simmered all day in my slow cooker, caramelizing as golden as the brown sugar
as fiery as the chipotle peppers
as smoky as hickory
as bright and flowery as its fresh cilantro
and as rich as the fire roasted tomatoes.
The secret really is in the sauce. I whirred a handful of wild flavors, poured it over chicken breasts, and let them soak and simmer all day long.
That night during our fiesta, we spooned tender strands of chicken onto warmed corn tortillas, cozied them with guacamole, crumbled queso fresco, shredded iceberg lettuce, caramelized red onion, and spicy homemade salsa.
The next morning we three found ourselves in my kitchen, scooping cold chipotle chicken into salty tortilla chips.
Not a fork, a knife, or a napkin considered.
A sink full of dishes, dirtied but delightfully forgotten.
Three cases of wild brown bed head.
Six bags under our eyes, collectively.
A half eaten pie that we rationalized was a balanced breakfast of toast (pie crust), eggs (custard), and fruit.
The whole day was beginning as happily as it had fallen asleep the night before on my living room floor in a mess of blankets.
And then, later that evening when my girls had up and left me, I was left with just enough shredded chipotle chicken to build a saucy mess on my softest wheat roll. I sat my sandwich under the broiler, beneath a layer of bubbling extra sharp cheddar, and minutes later I had a dinner as delicious as the night before, only perhaps less fun because I was alone and not eating with my friends in pajamas in a [never to be publicly documented] 1980s flashback.
Smoky Chipotle Brown Sugar Chicken
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained (recommended: Muir Glen)
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped (1 pepper pulled from a packed can)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smokeDirections:
- Place chicken in the base of your slow cooker.
- Puree all remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor until well combined and smooth.
- Pour over chicken breasts and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Shred using two forks.