Shredded Chicken for Tacos

As promised, today we're going to complete those awesome tacos that we started in the last post. And to that end, we have here some long-simmered chicken thighs which cook down to that oh-so wondrous fall apart stage.  But it's what they're simmering in that makes it ever so tasty, mostly owing to some very flavorful chorizo, but there's also sliced onions and garlic and Mexican spices, which just sort of melt into the meat as it cooks, creating what just happens to be my very favorite taco meat.

But I'm happy to report that we're not going to be stopping there.  Noooooooooooo.  In the quest for a sort of perfect taco (I refuse to believe there's just ONE perfect taco), we've got some pretty awesome stuff to pile on top of it.  We'll get to that in a minute.

OK, so we're going to start with a hot pan and some chorizo.  I love this soy chorizo cuz it cooks down like a dream and has all the flavor you want from chorizo without all that fat and grease.  But any good Mexican chorizo will do just fine here.

So we're going to cook that down a bit...

...remove it from the pan and then add in some sliced onions...

and after that sautes for awhile and gets soft and luscious, w're going to remove that from the pan cuz we gotta get that chicken cookin!  Just sprinkle the chicken with your favorite taco seasoning (here's ours)...

and after the chicken's nice and brown in that tasty chorizo stuff in there, take that out of the pan and set it aside and pour in some chicken broth, scraping up those bits of chicken and chorizo that are stuck to the pan.  Then we're going to add the garlic into the pan along with all of the chicken, onions and chorizo,

cover it and let it cook down for awhile.

Now then, how long you let this cook is totally up to you.  You can simmer this on the stove for thirty minutes or an hour or basically however much time you have, but 30 minutes is the bare minimum.  I like to toss it into the oven at around 275 degrees and let it cook for an hour and a half or 2 hours.  I'm not kidding, the chicken just gets so tender and flavorful the longer you cook it. But if you only have 30 minutes, it's still going to be really really good.

Then you're just going to take 2 forks and shred it which is super easy cuz by now that meat is just totally begging to be broken down, and then stir it all in with the chorizo and the cooking juices. Oh wow. Now if you think your meat is a bit too juicy, you can drain some of it off or simmer it uncovered until the sauce reduces to your liking.

Now you're going to grab yourself a warm, fresh corn tortilla and place some of that shredded chicken in it.  Then we're going to top that with this creamy dreamy cabbage mixture 

that's just a combination of shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, buttermilk, lime juice, a little salt and black pepper.  This is good stuff and just dynamite on a taco.  Then we'll add a little of that salsa verde we made last week, a little cheese and a slice of avocado (which somehow didn't make it into the photo) and voila!  With a squeeze of lime juice, a very tasty taco is yours for the eating...


Here's the recipe... 

Tacos with Shredded Chicken and Chorizo

Click here for a printable recipe

This is one of our very favorite ways to eat tacos.  It's a bit more work than just browning some ground meat (which we also like), but it's well worth the effort. After slow cooking in the oven, this meat just falls apart.  We cook it with chorizo which gives it incredible flavor.  Sometimes I use links of chicken chorizo from Whole Foods, more often I use Cacique soy chorizo.  We also love our homemade salsa verde on these tacos, but for sure, use whatever salsa or hot sauce you prefer. We like to make our own tortillas and use the Circle B taco seasoning too (recipe links below). This shredded chicken is also great for burritos, tostadas and enchiladas.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 lb chicken thighs

1/2 lb Mexican chorizo sausage

1/2 onion, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, sliced thin

1 teaspoon taco seasoning

1/3 cup chicken broth

Chipotles in adobo (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Remove the chorizo from the casing and crumble into an already pretty hot 10" skillet.  Using a spatula or spoon to break it up while it cooks.  After the chorizo is about cooked through (5-6 minutes), remove it from the pan into a bowl and set aside.

Add the sliced onions to the pan and saute for about 5-6 minutes or until they're pretty soft.  Remove them from the pan and set aside.

Sprinkle one side of the chicken thighs with the taco seasoning.  If needed, add a little more vegetable oil to the pan and then place the chicken pieces, seasoned side up into the pan.  Let them cook for about 3 or 4 minutes and then turn them over.  You may need a spatula to loosen them from the pan.  Let them cook on the second side until nicely browned, another 3 or 4 minutes and then remove to plate.

Your pan should now be quite dark on the bottom with lots of flavor from the chorizo, onions and chicken.  If it seems like there's a lot of oil in the pan, remove all but a few teaspoons.  Pour the chicken broth into the pan and using a metal spatula, scrape up the dark bits from the bottom of the pan and let the broth simmer for 5 minutes or so to concentrate the flavors.  

Add the chorizo, the garlic, the chicken and the onions back into the pan, cover tightly and place in the preheated oven for an hour and a half (or you can simmer this on the stove for at least 30 minutes).

Remove the lid and use two forks to shred the chicken. Stir the shredded chicken into the sauce with the chorizo and onions.  Taste for salt and pepper (I usually add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt here, but it depends on how salty your taco seasoning was).  If you'd like the chicken a little more spicy, you can stir some chopped chipotles in adobo into the sauce.

For the tacos:

Corn tortillas, (here's our recipe) warmed throughthinly

shredded cabbage

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cupbuttermilk

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

salsa verde

queso cheese (or your favorite cheese for tacos)

avocado slices

several lime wedges

fresh cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, buttermilk, lime juice, salt and black pepper.  Add the shredded cabbage and mix thoroughly.

To assemble your tacos, place the shredded chicken in a heated soft (or crispy) corn tortilla and top with some of the shredded cabbage mixture and then some salsa verde, a good sprinkling of cheese, some fresh cilantro leaves and a slice of avocado. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over each taco.

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