Do a much healthier version of carnitas. This low-fat chicken version is packed with flavor and spicy goodness. Just follow these easy step by step photo instructions.
Chicken Carnitas AKA Carnitas de Pollo, just the name will get some people going. After all, carnitas are pieces of fatty pork cooked in more fat...right?
But to me, carnitas are "little Mexican spiced up pieces of meat" so it fits, for me. With an infusion of great citrus flavor, you'll love this healthier version of carnitas. All in less than an hour with less than 5 grams of fat.
Based on my own Healthier Pork Carnitas with Pork Tenderloin, you can have a great Mexican meal on the table in less than an hour.
This may be a little generous, but I loved the citrus taste and the fall-apart chicken. I did put it in my top picks.
I used skinless boneless chicken breasts cut into generous chunks. You can use chicken thighs with only a little increase in the fat. You do not want to do anything with skin or bone.
Other meats can be used similarly, but this is a chicken recipe. The pork tenderloin carnitas recipe is very nice.
I call for a lime and an orange in this recipe. The citrus is common in carnitas recipes, and the chicken picks up those flavors very well.
It is not only the chicken that makes this a five but the veggies. Cooked in the same pan, you get all the great spices and citrus taste in your meal.
Pick the additional veggies you like, but a couple of peppers in contrasting colors and an onion do very nicely.
Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
Trim and cut about 2 pounds of skinless boneless chicken breast (or thighs) into 1 to `1 ½ inch cubes.
Mix the chicken with kosher salt, paprika, cumin, and pepper. Stir well to coat.
Add the chicken to the hot oil and occasionally stir until browning well — about 7 minutes. You do not need to cook completely, just brown.
While chicken is cooking, mince one jalapeno and two cloves of garlic.
After chicken is browned well (about 7 minutes) add the jalapeno and garlic and cook two more minutes.
Add one 14 oz can chicken broth and the juice of one orange and one lime.
Adjust the temperature to get a firm boil. Do not cover and do not stir. Just let it reduce to almost nothing — about 20 minutes. Your house will smell wonderful.
While the chicken is reducing, clean and slice one red pepper, one green pepper, and a large onion. When the pan is almost dry, move the chicken to a plate and cover with foil.
Add the veggies to the pan over medium-high heat and cook until tender (about 7-8 minutes). Stir frequently and scrape some of the fond off the bottom of the pan.
If needed, add a couple of tablespoons of chicken broth for moisture. Lots of great flavors here.
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Editor's Note: Originally Published October 19, 2013. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.