Gluten free, paleo, clean eating….whatever…this is just good tasting food! Sometimes I feel like we (myself especially) get so caught up with labels. We label everything – fashion choices, lifestyles, diets, people! For some reason we like to compartmentalize until everything is separated into nice orderly groups. Maybe that’s why I like cooking so much. I can start with things that are separated into their appropriate spots in my spice cupboard, pantry, and fridge and bring them together to make something new with every meal.
This delicious homemade enchilada sauce isn’t anything incredibly unique, except that it’s made from scratch – not a can labeled “enchilada sauce”. Truthfully, I don’t trust labels much of any kind. What’s that saying, “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover…. or a can by its label?” Something like that.
Anyway, this enchilada sauce turned out so yummy! And as anyone knows the best thing about a slow cooker isn’t just the infusion of flavors, but the thoughtless ease of the dinner time rush. The chicken shreds apart easily after a few hours simmering in the sauce, then just pile some into a lettuce leaf wrap or tortilla and top it with my super simple Mango Guacamole!
Like I said, it’s just good food however you want to label it.
Crock Pot Enchilada Chicken
In Homemade Enchilada Sauce
*Note: Using organic ingredients will give you the best and healthiest results.
- 2 tbsp. oil (coconut, olive oil, or vegetable oil)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- pinch red pepper flakes
- cayenne pepper to taste (opt. if you want more heat)
- 2 tsp. dried oregano or 1 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tsp. dried cilantro or 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
- 8 oz. can tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken stock (plus more if needed to reach desired consistency)
- sea salt to taste
- 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken pieces; thawed and patted dry (you can use chicken breast, tenders, thighs, etc.)
- Sea salt and pepper
- 1/2 of one lime, juiced
- In a large skillet heat the oil and garlic until it begins to sizzle. Lay chicken pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper, in the skillet and quickly sear on both sides with the lime juiced over top. Don’t worry about cooking it through, there’ll be plenty of time for that in the crock pot. *This step just adds flavor, but if you have some time constraints it can be skipped. Just put thawed chicken in the crock pot and pour the sauce over.
- Remove chicken and place in the crock pot. You may need to drizzle a 1/2 tbsp more oil in the pan if the chicken soaked it up.
- On medium heat add to the oil and garlic the chili powder, cumin, cayenne (if using), and red pepper flakes. Stir until it’s all combined. Add in remaining seasoning, tomato paste, and stock.
- Continue stirring until everything is incorporated. Taste and season with salt.
- Pour the enchilada sauce over the chicken in the crock pot. Set to low and let it cook for 6-8 hours.
- Shred the chicken with a fork and serve warm topped with some mango guacamole.