Slow Cooked Pollo Con Salsa Roja

This recipe was inspired by one of our Norcal rock star clients Natalie S.  I made her recipe as is except I used El Pato sauce because I had it handy – but if you want to try Natalie’s version, sub the El Pato for a 15 oz can of tomato sauce plus 1 tbsp minced chipotle chilis in adobo sauce with 1 tbsp of sauce from the can.

You can find good ol’ El Pato at any neighborhood grocery store in the salsa isle.

This dish does not get any easier and let me tell you how much I love coming home to dinner already finished, especially now that school is back in full swing and I have returned to my true calling of taxi cab driver. All five of us went back for seconds on this one….

Slow Cooked Pollo Con Salsa Roja

3 lbs boneless skinless organic free range chicken thighs

1 yellow onion sliced

7 celery stalks diced

2 cups baby carrots

28 oz can of El Pato Salsa Para Enchiladas

Juice from 1 lemon

4 cloves of garlic  minced

1 bunch of cilantro chopped

2 avocados diced

In the bottom of your slow cooker, layer the carrots, celery, and onions and top with the minced garlic.  On top of the veggies layer your chicken, squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken, and pour the entire contents of the El Pato sauce on top.  Cook on low all day (6-8 hours).  Serve topped with the diced avocado and cilantro.

I also made baked summer squash.  I cut the zucchinis into large chunks, placed them in a glass backing dish and drizzled the squash with this mornings bacon grease and seasoned with plenty of garlic powder, dried oregano, and black pepper.  Bake at 450 for 25-30 minutes.


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  1. says

    OMG!!! Another winner!!! Thank you so much for your blog posts, I have made so many of your recipes and loved them. Not only are they good for my body, they are easy and my family loves them. I have passed your recipes onto my sis whose hubby has just been diagnosed with all kinds of food allergies (of course mostly associated with processing and preservatives) and has loved them. It has made her job of finding good filling foods that he can eat much easier. Thanks for giving us peace of mind and happy bodies!!

  2. says

    I love El Pato. The yellow can is nice and spicy and used to love it with chips and pizza. Now that I don’t eat that stuff anymore, I will have to try this dish out! Looks soooooooooooo good! (Mexican food is my favorite and always will be!)

  3. Dan says

    This looks great – where can I find El Pato sauce? S&S? Trader Joes? WF?

    Love the website, the recipes are fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Rachel says

    Hello! Love the blog — so many easy dinner ideas. One question: What kind of slow cooker do you have? I’m not sure if I should spend more or if the mid-priced ones are decent. I definitely want one for the winter!

    Thanks :)

    • Sarah says

      Hey Rachel!
      I have the biggest “Hamilton Beach” slow cooker. My husband bought it for me but I don’t think it was the priciest ones and I love it! Good luck! : )

      • Lynda says

        Hi, Sara. What kind of slow cooker do you use? I have the All Clad with the aluminum insert but understand aluminum may leach toxic metals.

        Any recos?


  5. Cathy says

    Thanks so much for this and ALL your recipes. I am doing a modified form of Paleo (totally eliminated cereals but not dairy …yet) and am excited to experience weight loss with no loss of strength or wellbeing.
    Quick question : What kind of slow cooker do you have? Mine is an oval shaped Rival Crockpot with two High and two Low settings but boy, even on the lowest setting for 8 hours, it just cooked the meat into a dry, tasteless, fibrous slab. I have yet to achieve the fall-off-the-bone, melt in your mouth deliciousness that other’s seem to achieve with a slow cooker.
    Feel free to point me to a FAQ page if you have one.
    Thanks again — waiting for the recipe book to come out (grin)

    • Sarah says

      Hey Cathy,
      I have a “Hamilton Beach” slow cooker. It’s oval shaped and the biggest one they have. I do not yet have a FAQ page, but holy cow do I need one! That’s my next project! I’m not sure why your slow cooker is ruining your meat! I know that the best cuts of meat to cook in the crock pot tend to be the fattier cuts. I like using chicken thighs as opposed to chicken breasts, but a whole chicken always turns out great…. I was going to suggest only cooking on low but it looks like you tried that already.. I’m at a loss!!

  6. Carla C says

    I wanted to chime in about slow cookers. Mine has a ‘warm’ setting and a timer. If I use it for 5 hrs, then have it switch to warm, the meat is much better than cooking on low for 8 hours.

  7. Carrie says

    My slow cooker has a “warm setting” too. I didn’t know how much I needed that until I got it. I cook on low for about 6ish hours and then it switches over to warm. Dinners are coming out much better in this cooker than in my old one that didn’t have the warm setting. I believe it is a Hamilton Beach, oval shaped.

  8. Cathy says

    Thanks for the info. re the slow cooker. Here’s what I did instead since I don’t trust my slow cooker: I followed the recipe but used frozen chicken thighs (because that’s what I had on hand)and threw everything into my pressure cooker along with a bit of chicken broth.
    Once the Pressure Cooker reached steam, (about 5 minutes on my gas stove) I cooked it all for 15 minutes.
    Total time was about 20 minutes and really stunning. I used the quick cool method to stop the cooking (pour cold water over the lid until the pressure releases).
    The family INHALED it!
    Thanks for all your hard work — I’m a committed fan!

  9. Stephanie says

    OMG! This was insanely delicious!
    Everyone loved it hands down, not a single complaint!
    My husband doesn’t get home until late but I know he is going to love it too!
    So yum, thank you again!

  10. John Frazer says

    This worked great with a 2-3 lb. fresh (i.e., raw) ham steak (a/k/a “center slice”) .

    If I do that again (and I will, since our half of a pig yielded a bunch of those) I’ll cut the meat into stew meat chunks. 10 hours of cooking in tomato and citrus didn’t yield the pulled pork consistency I would have expected.

  11. Megan says

    I am making this tonight! Question re: El Pato. I found two versions at my grocery store, one was salsa de jalapeno and the other was what you pictured above, I believe.
    Sarah, did your can say it contained food coloring? It looked like the red can at my grocery store contained Red No. 5 & 6, or something like that. I chose the green can b/c it didn’t contain any color additives, according to the label. It was still a nice looking red color! Just curious–I have a little one at home and hope to avoid any “extra” irritants! 😛

  12. Lainey says

    Another yummy recipe from Sarah. This was super easy. I think I’ll add a jalapeño in next time to give it an extra kick.

    I don’t miss my old recipes one bit. :)

  13. Samantha Romandy says

    Delicioso!! This recipe is divine & I have passed it onto a few friends of mine who I’m sure will love it as much as I did!

  14. Brenda says

    My 9-year old son and I made this today and it is cooking away in the slow cooker. My house smells amazing and I can’t wait to try it!

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