When faced with the challenge of finding new ways to cook chicken breast, consider this easy, flavorful method of stewing for 3 hours and delicately pulling it apart with a fork. Use this recipe for making pulled chicken sandwiches, chicken tacos, empanada filling, over salad, or just eating it over simple white rice with a side of black beans. The complex flavors in Puerto Rican sofrito combined with tomato sauce and liquid smoke give you a Caribbean Latin flavor with a subtle barbecue edge.
The Puerto Rican sofrito I use is a Daisy Martinez recipe – a mixture of aromatics, herbs and peppers which is typically fresh in bulk ahead of time, stored in the freezer and used only as needed. Even thought I prefer to make my own, some grocery stores sell sofrito in jars if you look in an aisle of Latin American products (such as Goya), or sometimes there are other brands found refrigerated near the cilantro, other herbs and specialty products.
- 3 large chicken breasts
- 1 spanish onion, halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 (8 oz) can plain tomato sauce (or freshly made)
- 1/2 cup sofrito
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Place chicken breasts in a large wide pot with onion halves and bay leaves. Fill with water so water level is an inch over the chicken.
- Stir in sofrito, tomato sauce, liquid smoke and salt
- Bring a brief boil, then reduce heat to a low.
- Maintain a low gentle boil until chicken becomes tender enough to fall apart easily when polked with a fork, approximately 3 hours staring occasionally. Remove the onion halves and bay leaves after the first 2 hours. Liquid will cook down a bit and thicken. During these 3 hours you can get creative with the amount of salt, liquid smoke or sofrito to your liking.
- Briefly transfer tender chicken to a counter and use a fork to gently pull apart the chicken into shreds. Return chicken to liquid, stir in olive oil and keep warm.