Hola chicas how you doin post-holidays? Although I refuse to accept that the holidays have come to a close until January 2nd arrives. Part of me is excited for a new year to begin while the other part of me is like WAIT HOLD ON. I’m not done with you yet 2018. Sigh. Until then we got some spiced cider chicken carnitas a brewin.
You may have noticed TNK was filled with all the wholesome holiday baked goodies this month for obvious reasons…Honestly mt favorite part of this time of year is getting to be in the kitchen and filling my home with cozy baked good aromas. ZE BEST am I right? Aside from gifting to all my lovers and finding ways to give back. Oh and watching + re watching It’s a Wonderful Life. Forever my favorite holiday movie.
How was your Christmas? Hannekua? OR any holiday cheer you happen to celebrate…I hope it was lovely and filled with all the delicious cookies. My family is in town this week and have been showing them around the old streets of Boston that have slowly become a comforting home to me.
This break was MUCH needed after wrapping up my final week in surgery rotation. As much as clinical dietetics is NOT for me, I will say I came out of this portion a heck of a lot stronger and educated. I was pretty surprised by the knowledge retained in this creative-soul filled brain of mine.
ENOUGH of my personal life though. Let’s talk cozy, savory comfort food.
When it comes to New Years Eve/Day I have grown into my old-person nature and love making a delicious meal with close friends, paired with some divine wine. None of that chardonnay weak business. The real deal bold reds you pair with a hearty yet nourishing 4 course dinner.
You gotta end the New Year with a bang right? Might as well make it damn delicious, TNK style 🙂 This slow cooker chicken carnitas recipe is beyond easy to whip up and honestly…one of the few chicken recipes I genuinely love.
Chicken tends to be dry, bland, overcooked or flavorless a lot of the times (in my humble opinion). The slow cooker or instant pot is your bestie for situations like this. The outcome is a heart wintery dish packed full of juicy flavor. You honestly just need a few simple ingredients, herbs and wa-la. Perfect for a “fancy” hosting dinner, date night, or healthy meal prep.
Spiced Cider Chicken Carnitas Details
Chicken: For this recipe you can either use organic chicken breast or chicken thighs but I personally perfer thighs! They bring out an amazing flavor and side note they’re a lot cheaper than chicken breast! But either one will be delicious, just be mindful the thighs taste better 🙂
Spices: You may find it off there’s a mix of cinnamon, chili powder and cumin for spices. TRUST me. The cinnamon brings out the “carnitas” flavor paired with the spiced cider. I promise it won’t taste dessert-y, especially paired with the chili powder, cumin and salsa.
Salsa: I tested this recipe with Trader Joe’s new Pepita Salsa and it was glorious. I suggest using a non-chunky chipotle flavored salsa for best results.
Cooking Method: You can easily whip this up in the instant pot if you’re short on time but I actually prefer making this on slow cooker mode. I feel the chicken soaks up the flavor and juices a little better but either way you get some damn delicious tender chicken carnitas. Whatever works best for ya! This is the instant pot I use for both instant recipes and slow cooker.
For Serving: I suggest making these into tacos, toastadas or serving with crispy roasted potoatoes. Or better yet, stuff them into a baked potato. YES PLEASE. Okay that is officially happening in the TNK kitchen this NYE. All tribe members welcome 🙂
- 1 lb. chicken thighs or breast*
- ~1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp each: cumin, chili powder (or Old Bay)
- ½ tsp cinnamon + sea salt to taste
- 2 cups spiced apple cider juice
- ¼ cup creamy salsa (non-chunky)
- Handful of fresh rosemary
- Handful of fresh pomegrantes for topping
- Serving Ideas: pair with roasted potatotes, as tacos, tostadas or stuffed into a baked potato
- Instant Pot Method: First, turn on sautee setting and add olive oil and garlic to pot. Let sautee for a few minutes then add the chicken thighs and let cook for about 3-4 minutes per side. Switch to manual mode and set timer for 15 minutes on normal setting. Place the rest of ingredients into pot (excpet cilantro and pomegranets) and cover. Once done, shred the chicken while in the pot (will be tender!). I like to let the chicken continue to simmer in the juices for a bit longer before serving. Either way will be delicious!
- Slow Cooker Method: Place all ingredients into slow cooker except rosemary and pomegrantes. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Shred the chicken and place in the oven on broil for about 4 minutes to get some extra crisp. This is optional, but I highly recommend for a delicious "Carnitas" flavor! Top with pomegrantes and rosemary for a delicious combo!
**I get my spiced apple cider juice from trader joes! No added sugars and delicious. I also recommend the pepita salsa from TJ's to use in this recipe.