When I slipped into my hostess dress* and threw a Mexican fiesta meets late ‘80s slumber party recently, this smoky chipotle brown sugar pulled chicken stole the show. I glanced around my dinner table and smiled, my friends licking sticky fingers.
Mmms and aaaahhhs and sighs and smiles and serious stains were setting in.
This chicken had simmered all day in my slow cooker, caramelizing as golden as the brown sugar and as fiery as the chipotle peppers.
It’s smoky with hickory flavor, bright and aromatic from fresh cilantro, and thickened with fire roasted tomatoes.
The secret really is in the sauce. I blended a handful of wild flavors, poured it over chicken breasts, and let them cook away all day long.
That night during our party, we had a taco bar with that chicken, with warm corn tortillas and toppings like guacamole, crumbled queso fresco, shredded iceberg lettuce, caramelized red onion, and homemade salsa.
Sloppy bliss, friends.
The next morning we found ourselves in my kitchen, scooping cold chipotle chicken up into our mouths with salty tortilla chips as spoons.
No fork, no knife, no napkin. A sink full of dirty dishes. Three cases of bed head.
Six bags under our eyes altogether.
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 ended the night before in my living room.
Later that night when my girls were gone, I had just enough shredded chipotle chicken left over to make a sandwich with broiled sharp cheddar on top :)
Slow Cooker Smoky Chipotle Brown Sugar Chicken
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles recommended: Red Gold Original Tex-Mex Petite Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce finely chopped (from a can)
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 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.