Stewed Chicken Tacos

by heidi on April 2, 2013

Going through my recipe archives I noticed the glaring omission of a recipe that has become a favorite around our house. I only had two taco recipes on the blog, one for Fried Avocado Tacos and one for Spaghetti Tacos, the first being a somewhat untraditional twist and the second suitable mainly for a gaggle of pre-teens or the indecisive Mexican Italian.

While I am a lover of beef tacos made with traditional beef—ground, shredded, it’s all good in my book—tacos made with shredded chicken have become a favorite at Casa del Larsen and an ode to the shredded chicken tostadas at Venice, CA’s El Tarasco. Their chicken tostadas were a Monday night staple after a weekend of play and an empty fridge yet to be restocked.

The stewed chicken atop a mound of shredded lettuce and doused in salsa made the beginning of the week that much more bearable.

Stewed Chicken Tacos |

I’ve tried to recreate El Tarasco’s chicken stewey, and while this is similar, it isn’t quite the same but is oh so tasty in its own incarnation thanks to its earthy flavor.

But what I really love about this recipe is that it’s a one pot wonder thanks to a little secret that makes it super easy to make no matter which day of the week.

See, I make this chicken recipe with frozen chicken meat. No thawing, no browning. Just dump the brick of frozen bird breast into the pot with some delicious aromatics, let it cook for a few hours on the stove or in the crock pot and magic things happen.

The chicken comes out amazingly moist thanks to being braised in chicken stock and tenderizing beer. You can sub in wine or omit the alcohol altogether, but I’ve found it does add a tasty layer of flavor when the bird is a little tipsy.

Stewed Chicken Tacos |

To keep things on the lighter side I usually toast corn tortillas in my toaster oven instead of frying them and then shape them into taco coves upside down on a baking rack to cool.

Or if my talk of tostadas has inspired your taste buds, warm the tortillas but keep them traditionally flat and lather with a layer of refried beans and top with lettuce and chicken and tostada toppings.

Stewed Chicken Tacos

Stewed Chicken Tacos


3 cups chicken broth
1 pound frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of about 15 fresh cilantro stems
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Pale Ale beer
small corn tortillas
shredded lettuce, avocado, diced tomato, cilantro leaves and cotija cheese for garnish


  1. Add all ingredients to a dutch oven or large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Remove chicken from broth and set aside. Pull stems from cooked peppers, remove bay leaves from the pot and transfer the broth to a blender in batches to blend the sauce. Add the sauce back to the dutch oven, bring to a boil and cook down to 2 cups of sauce.
  2. While sauce is cooking, shred chicken with two forks or your fingers. Add 1 cup of sauce and chicken to a bowl and combine, adding more sauce if desired.
  3. Place small corn tortillas in a toaster oven and toast lightly. While hot, carefully bend the tortillas and place in a rack to cool into a curved taco shell shape. Layer chicken, shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, diced tomato, cilantro leaves and cotija cheese and serve with extra sauce on the side.

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Posted in: chicken and turkey,entrees,recipes

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Azzira April 2, 2013 at 3:57 am

Great stuff for one second I thought it is sizzler. Hmmmmmmm its seems yummy.

Fish store


patti April 2, 2013 at 6:11 am

They look so delicious, They’re calling my name.


Jen @ Savory Simple April 2, 2013 at 6:19 am

These are going into my recipe box! We have taco night around here all the time and you’ve made me realize I have NO taco recipes on the blog. Unacceptable!


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers April 2, 2013 at 6:42 am

I love this idea! Gorgeous photos, so appetizing!


Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking April 2, 2013 at 6:47 am

I seriously love any kind of taco! This chicken recipe is so easy! I love the idea of just adding cilantro stems. Way to use the whole herb!


Cassie | Bake Your Day April 2, 2013 at 6:58 am

This is fantastic, Heidi! I grew up on stewed chicken but this is almost like a grownup version of it. Great flavors!


Tieghan April 2, 2013 at 7:08 am

love these tacos! Yum! I want these for dinner. Why are tacos always so appealing!?!


Ali | Gimme Some Oven April 2, 2013 at 7:36 am

Ha – “the brick of frozen bird” made me LOL. These sound so great!!! I eat tacos WAY too much. Will have to try these in my rotation! :)


heidi April 4, 2013 at 12:02 am

You have amazing tacos on your blog, must be the reason you eat them so often. Not hard when you have a taco truck right in your own kitchen.


carrian April 2, 2013 at 7:47 am

I love your one pot wonder chicken! It looks awesome and who wouldn’t like not having to defrost meat. Especially on the days you realize you forgot to get something out of the freezer.


Lauren Grier @ (Climbing Grier Mountain) April 2, 2013 at 7:51 am

I am completely smitten with this recipe! I crave Mexican food more than a person should so anytime there’s a delicious one-pot wonder in my sight, I am all over it. Can’t wait to dig in!


Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough April 2, 2013 at 8:03 am

Tipsy chicken, you say? Tacos, you say?? I’M ALL IN.


Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet April 2, 2013 at 8:10 am

Love these tacos! Gorgeous presentation!


Traci April 2, 2013 at 8:15 am

Great job Heidi! These look perfect. I am adding these to my taco collection. I’m always trying out new tacos. I think I have a fettish or something. Is there an addiction meeting for us?


Giulia April 2, 2013 at 8:44 am

Yummmy! I make something similar by cooking my frozen chicken breasts in the slow-cooker with a block of cream cheese, 2 cups of frozen corn, a can of beans and a jar of salsa. It comes together nicely and works great in tacos or burritos. It’s perfect when you forget to thaw the meat.


heidi April 3, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Whoa! Now THAT is a recipe. Thanks for sharing, I’ll have to try. I love braising with the frozen birdie. So easy.


Laura (Tutti Dolci) April 2, 2013 at 9:54 am

Drooling, these are perfect for taco Tuesday!


Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes April 2, 2013 at 11:02 am

They look delicious!! One pot wonders are the best :)


natalie @ wee eats April 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm

these look great. it will be the perfect easy meal for us when we get home from vacation :)


natalie @ wee eats April 2, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Do you have a specific pale beer that you recommend for this recipe?


heidi April 3, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Oh yes. My husband’s favorite. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.


Kevin (Closet Cooking) April 2, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Nice looking tacos!


heidi April 4, 2013 at 12:01 am

Now coming from the taco king that’s a compliment! Thanks Kevin!


Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out April 2, 2013 at 8:26 pm

It’s hard to say what I like more about this: the frozen bird trick, the taco shell trick, or just the whole dang taco. Amazing.


Emily April 2, 2013 at 10:46 pm

So totally adding these tacos to our Taco Tuesday rotation. Mmm…


Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking April 3, 2013 at 10:19 am

Totally drooling over here! I love these, Heidi!


Liz @ The Lemon Bowl April 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I am literally drooling!!!


Tracy @ Peanut Butter and Onion April 5, 2013 at 11:49 am

Dinner is served tonight


Ruth May 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I have taco night about 3 nights a week, hehe, could absolutely live on them! These look so yummy and easy! You’ve sold me- I’m making a variation tonight!


Kim in Palm Coast October 10, 2013 at 4:28 am

How long do you cook the bird brick & goodies if using the crockpot?


Eliza July 27, 2014 at 11:57 pm

On the stove, cooking away right now – smells incredible, can’t wait to eat this!


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