Friday Favorite – Bajio Chicken Chile Salad

You all know that one of my favorite restaurants to eat at while I’m in Utah is Cafe Rio.  When I’m not in Utah I make my own sweet pork to get me through until my next visit.

I was in Utah last weekend and believe it or not I DID NOT get to eat at Cafe Rio!  Hard to believe I know.

I did eat at Bajio though – a similar style restaurant as Cafe Rio.  I was introduced to Bajio by Emily – I guess Emily is officially my niece in law but she’s also a great friend!  She told me I had to try the Bajio Chicken Chile Salad and she was right.  It was so yummy.

I had it the first time about a year ago.  I came home and got right on the computer to see if I could find a copycat recipe – no luck!  Well several weeks ago I found one!  In fact I found two different versions.

The first recipe was a bit labor intensive – having you caramelize onions and make or buy a green chile chutney.  The second version was quick and easy and done in the crock pot.  I opted for the second version.  This recipe came from Kara’s Kitchen Creations - a darling blog with lots of yummy recipes!

While in Utah I wanted to have the Bajio Chicken Chile Salad so it would be fresh in mind and I could compare it to this copycat version.  I have to say it comes pretty close.

In fact Tessa said she liked it better than the real thing - it wasn’t quite as sweet.  I have to agree I liked it not quite as sweet also.  My husband loved it too.  He is always very complimentary about whatever I make but when he tells me more than once how good something is I know it is a keeper!

After I had shredded the chicken and returned it to the crock pot for an hour I drained off the juice and added a mixture of  cornstarch and water to it to thicken it up.  You can also at this point taste for sweetness and add more brown sugar if you’d like it a bit sweeter.

By thickening up the liquid you almost don’t even need to add salad dressing to this salad – the sweet glaze from the chicken acts as a salad dressing.  If you want to add dressing the Cafe Rio Cilantro Dressing is perfect on this salad.

I used romaine lettuce, added the chicken, some shredded cheese and some tortilla strips that I had made.  I searched three stores to see if I couldn’t just buy some tortilla strips but I couldn’t find them – anyone know where you can buy the thin tortilla strips?

So I made my own.

To make your own tortilla strips just cut fresh corn tortillas into thin strips – I used a pizza cutter.  Heat a pan of oil and fry the tortilla strips until crisp, drain on a paper towel.

The recipe makes lots so we used some of the leftovers for quesadillas the next night – yum!  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

bajio - Page 192

Here it is with Cilantro dressing…

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Friday Favorite – Bajio Chicken Chile Salad

Ingredients

  • 5 chicken breasts (I only used 4 large ones)
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (more to taste)
  • 1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
  • 6 oz. Sprite (1/2 can)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a crock pot.
  • Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  • Remove chicken and shred.
  • Return to crock pot and cook 1 more hour.
  • Thicken the juices with a little cornstarch mixed in water.
  • Serve with flour tortillas, lettuce, cheese, black beans and any other taco fixings.
  • If you want it spicer rather than sweeter add a hotter salsa and more green chilies.

Comments

  1. 1
    Laurie says:

    I am so glad to have a recipe. I think I found the other one that required green chile chutney and never found any (although) perhaps a mexican market may have some. I will be trying this right away. Thanks for sharing this yummy salad.

  2. 2
    Gayle says:

    I am so excited to be able to tell you something cool because you have shared so many wonderful things with the rest of us!! Fresh Gourmet makes a product called “Tortilla Strips” and I find them right next to the salad section in my grocery store. They make different flavors, but the “lightly salted” ones work fantastically on this type of salad (Cafe Rio’s too.) This same company makes wonton strips for asian salads (also in various flavors). They last for a few months unopened, so you can buy more than one when you run across them. Hope you can find some so you don’t have to keep making your own!
    Thank you so much for all that you do in your life. I check your blog regularly and am always delighted to see what you’ve done next. Thank you for your optimism and excellent attitude in life. I appreciate your core values and what you add to the world. We need more people like you. You are AWESOME!! Have a great day!

    • 2.1
      Melanie says:

      I’ve had the tortilla strips, they are awesome! There is a lime flavor that is incredible! Thanks for sharing the recipe, I’ve been dying to find one, had to share on pinterest.

  3. 3
    Gayle says:

    Oh hey, I should have mentioned that, if your local stores do not carry them, you can ask them to bring them in. Also, freshgourmet.com has a product locator that you can type in your zip code to see who carries them near you. Good luck!

  4. 4
    Kara says:

    I am so glad that you tried my recipe and liked it as much as we did. (And of course I am jealouse because your photo looks so much better than the one I took.)

  5. 5
    Kara says:

    Dang, just noticed that I spelled jealous wrong.

  6. 6
    Leigh Anne says:

    Gayle »
    Thank you SO MUCH for the great tip!!! I will check out my grocery store right away and hope they have them. Thank you so much for your sweet comment – you made my day! I am glad that you enjoy the blog because writing the blog and sharing with others brings me a lot of enjoyment and pleasure so I am glad that others enjoy it. Off to the store….

  7. 7
    Melissa says:

    This looks wonderful! Random question…what crock pot do you use? I don’t have one but am going to buy one soon.

  8. 8
    Melissa says:

    Nevermind…I just read your answer in a different post!

  9. 9
    Melanie says:

    Leigh Anne – this looks amazing! We just got a new Bajio restaurant where I live so I’ll have to go give it a try there but more importantly, I’ll have to make it at home, too!

  10. 10
    Leigh Anne says:

    Melissa »

    Actually my crockpot is the one I got for a wedding present 27 years ago – it’s a pretty harvest gold!

  11. 11
    Kami Shaw says:

    I made this on Sunday, and it exceeded my expectations 100%. I am so excited about all of the things that I could make with this yummy chicken.

  12. 12
    Heidi says:

    When I was in the process of making up my Pillsbury Bakeoff finalist recipe a few years ago, I couldn’t find tortilla strips either. So I submitted the recipe with the homemade version. I’ve always had trouble making them come out consistent, and the competition day was no different in that respect :P. Of course, right after I got home, I noticed that Smith’s began carrying them. And today I saw them at a different local grocery store. Next time you’re in Utah, fill your suitcase!

  13. 13
    Melanie L. says:

    I am from Utah and just moved to Califonia where they don’t have Bajio. I have been having major “Chicken green chili salad” withdrawl. Thanks for the recipe.:)

  14. 14
    Connie says:

    The green chili salad just isn’t the same for me without the Bajio vinegarette. Any ideas on where to get this recipie?

  15. 15
    Jane says:

    Thank you for this recipe, this salad is one of my favorites. I made this again tonight and we loved it. I posted it on my cooking blog with a link to yours, I hope you don’t mind. There are so many recipes on your blog I have on my list to try. Thanks for a great blog!

  16. 16
    Jane says:

    PS – my cooking blog is cjaneinthekitchen.blogspot.com if you are wondering what you are linked to. Thanks again!

  17. 17
    Jen says:

    Thanks. I love this salad and was hoping to find the recipe.

  18. 18
    Chet says:

    I was at a new restaurant in Orem called Milagros. It is managed by the founder of Bajio (Dave). he has a salad very similar to Bajios Chicken Chile Salad, but better. Try it out, it is on 800 north by Winco.

  19. 19
    Bonnie says:

    What kind of salsa do you use? Do you use something like Old El Paso Picante Sauce or do you make fresh salsa and use it?

  20. 20
    Mike says:

    I am also looking for the Vinegarette Dressing Recipe. Any ideas as to how to get it?

  21. 21
    Kaycee says:

    I have over two pounds of chicken. Do you think I should double the recipe?

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