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.
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.
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
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 pound frozen skinless boneless chicken breasts
- 3 whole dried New Mexico chiles
- 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
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.
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.
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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