POLLO EN SALSA: Chicken In Tomato Jalapeno Salsa
This dish is traditionally made with a whole chicken, which is cut into pieces and cooked slowly until tender. This results in a wonderful flavor, of course, but you can substitute boneless chicken if you prefer, which will also shorten the cooking time. The chicken finishes by simmering in a fresh tomato sauce, made medium-spicy with jalapeños. Turn up the heat by using picante serrano chiles, or substitute poblano or Anaheim chiles for great flavor but little or no heat. Serve with warm tortillas, beans and rice, or roasted potatoes to mop up all that wonderful sauce. Any leftover chicken, shredded in the sauce, makes an excellent filling for tacos, enchiladas, or tamales.
1 tablespoon fresh lard or vegetable oil
4 pounds chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, or a combination)
2 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 large Roma tomatoes (about 2 pounds total)
4 large jalapeño chiles, stemmed and seeded
½ white onion, coarsely chopped
4 large cloves garlic
Chopped fresh cilantro
In a large, heavy skillet, heat the lard over medium-high heat.
Add the chicken pieces and cook, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides.
In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, combine the chicken, water, and salt.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, until the chicken is just tender.
Thirty minutes before the chicken is finished, combine the tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, and garlic in a 4-quart saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the jalapeños are barely tender, about 5 minutes.
Drain well, transfer to a blender, and puree until smooth.
Drain the chicken pieces, saving the broth for another use.
Return the chicken to the slow cooker and pour the salsa over the chicken.
Cover and cook for another 2 hours on low (or 1 hour on high), or until the chicken is tender but not falling apart and the salsa has thickened.
To serve, sprinkle the cilantro over the hot chicken.
• For a quick and easy variation on this recipe, puree the uncooked tomatoes and other vegetables with 1 cup water or chicken broth and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour over the chicken pieces in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.
• If you want to make this recipe ahead, cook and drain the chicken as directed and then refrigerate the chicken until needed. Thirty minutes before serving, make the salsa and pour it into a large skillet. Add the cooked chicken, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the
chicken is heated through and the sauce has thickened slightly.