One of my favorite kitchen appliances is the trusty slow cooker. It requires a bit of planning, but usually pays off. I say usually because one time I came home expecting juicy orange chicken, but instead I had dried out meat burnt with a marmalade shell situation on my hands.
Over the weekend I had planned on making enchiladas for dinner. Normally I would boil or saute the chicken and shred it up for the enchilada filling, but since I had this idea pretty early in the day I had time to break out the slow cooker. Here's how the chicken with beer developed -
(Sidenote - Has anyone out there ever made/eaten/heard of beer can chicken? I've heard you can plunk a whole chicken over an opened can of beer and cook it on the grill. If anyone has, please share!)
First I dug through my freezer to find the chicken. Costco has these organic chicken breasts pre-separated into packages of 2-3.
I thawed the chicken and seasoned it with salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin. Then I stared into the refrigerator looking for some sort of liquid. I had some chicken broth but I wanted something with a little more punch. Look, a drawer full of beer! (We don't usually have a produce drawer full of beer. This is leftover from a Father's Day BBQ.)
The seasoned chicken went into the slow cooker, along with a few diced white onions and some chicken broth. I covered everything with the full can of beer. Then I got a little worried when all the foam appeared. I turned it on high and left the house for a few hours.
When I returned home, the house smelled kind of like...beer! But not in an unsettling, post college party kind of way.
I removed the chicken, shredded it up, poured out the liquid, then returned it to the bowl and added the rest of the filling ingredients. Since I was making enchiladas, I added black beans, chipotle corn, green chiles, cayenne pepper, more cumin, cream cheese and plain greek yogurt. I recovered it and let it sit in there to get aquainted. (My recipe is loosely based on Sam the Cooking Guy's - plus and minus a few things.)
In the end, I would have to say I think the beer chicken was a success. Once I added all the enchilada ingredients you couldn't taste the beer as much, but it definitely helped keep the chicken from drying out. It practically fell apart as soon I removed it from the bowl. I'm already imagining other dishes I'll make with the shredded beer chicken:
Tacos and taco salads
Buffalo chicken for salads or wraps
Chicken salad for sandwiches
Do you use a slow cooker? What do you make? (I have this 3 in 1 version, in case you were curious. I love the different sized stoneware bowls.)