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Aztec Chicken

By Kipp Rix

For the longest time, I truly despised chicken. When cooked, it was always dry; the skin was the only portion of the bird that had any flavor (and for “healthy” reasons, people always peeled off and tossed away the best part--the skin). Four years ago, I decided to give chicken another try, finding ways to get flavors deep into the meat. Here is another variety of my “Flavor Packed Chicken” that follows my motto “Just because you work in a busy house does not mean you have to settle for ordinary cooking; your crew’s attitude is directly related to the meals served!”

This recipe is perfect for those shifts when you know you’re going to be busy and time is limited. The items can be placed in the slow cooker and allowed to cook on low all day unsupervised. Slow cooking allows the flavor of the red chili to cook deep to the bone (another flavor packed chicken). If you insist on being one of those “skin-free” people, please cook it with the skin on and toss after cooking. With the slow cooker, most of the fat is rendered off during the cooking but the bird remains so much more tender and moist. The secret to this recipe is allowing lots of time to cook, thus ensuring the meat is fall-from-the-bone tender and that the chili sauce (or enchilada sauce) has time to reduce, allowing the flavors to build and intensify. Time permitting, I first grill the chicken, not to cook it through but to char the outside, adding a deeper and smoked layer of flavor.

I also enjoy this recipe because of its versatility when serving; it can be served as is along with sides (as pictured); the meat can be shredded from the bone and used to make tacos, burritos, and enchiladas; and it is a fantastic topping for a green salad.

Shopping List (for 4)

8 chicken thighs or 4 leg quarters

Bar R seasoning blend (recipe to follow at the end of this article)
28-oz. can red chili sauce (I prefer the flavor of Las Palmas)

Side Options

Mixed Normandy blend vegetables
Spanish rice and refried beans
Grilled squash and red bell peppers
Potato or pasta salad
Tomato and avocado salad

Cooking Directions

1. Season chicken pieces with the Bar R Seasoning blend.
2. If you are going to pregrill the chicken, cook it over a medium-high to high heat until the chicken is well charred (not burned).
3. Arrange the chicken in a slow cooker pot and cover chicken with the red chili sauce.
4. Turn the cooker on the high setting to get the mixture up to temperature, then turn down to medium and allow the chicken to cook undisturbed for 8-10 hours.
5. Remove the chicken from the pot with a spoon, as the meat will be falling off the bone.

Bar R Seasoning

I worked and adjusted this spice blend for more than a year, getting the flavor blend balanced to perfection. It was developed originally as the seasoning blend for our Bar R Steaks (featured in Draft Magazine), a specialty of our catering company. Mix all spices and store in an airtight container.

2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons rough ground black pepper
2 tablespoons smoked sea salt
2 tablespoons red chili powder
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried thyme crushed
¼ tablespoon cayenne pepper

 Kipp Rix

Kipp Rix has been in the fire service for 17 years, working as a volunteer with both Dona Ana County and currently San Juan County Fire as an Asst. District Chief. Presently he is also a career fire fighter with Farmington Fire Department (five years). Kipp has published two Fire House Cook Books (Fire House Publications, LLC - www.fhpllc.net) and uses a portion of the proceeds to support donations to firefighter’s needs and training fire fighters in the art and skills of Fire Fighter Survival “Getting Out Alive”. In 2010 Kipp became an adjunct instructor with San Juan College in the Fire Science Program, and became a featured chef with Eddie Sell’s FireHouseChefs.com.


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