30 May, 2021
Chicken Taco Filling
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Yesterday was a lovely, sunny day but it was windy which makes for dodgy barbequing. The wind gets strong enough to blow out the jets on the barbeque and then there’s a fight to get them lit again – meanwhile, the food on the grill is not cooking, people are hungry – it’s a mess.
On a side note – our new windows have a very subtle tint on them and some kind of a filter so the house doesn’t get stupid hot any more – can’t recommend them enough. New windows for the environmental win. Now I have two window air conditioners for sale – we’re keeping the portable, though, just in case.
Anyway, I wanted to make something for supper that didn’t heat up the house and didn’t require a load of effort (I’m knitting afghan squares and that’s where my focus wants to be) so slow cooker was up. My daughter is a huge fan of tacos and I keep seeing pictures of them on her Instagram feed, so tacos hit the menu.
The only question – how to do them?
A little internet poking around and I saw a three ingredient recipe for tacos that seemed interesting. Mine ended up a little more than three ingredients, simply because I don’t use packaged seasoning but the additional ingredients were just spices.
- 2 lbs of chicken thighs (boneless, skinless) or chicken breasts (boneless, skinless). I used thighs because they are less likely to dry out and I had some.
- ¼ cup of unsalted butter
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
That’s it. Toss them all into a slow cooker and cook on high for 4 or 5 hours or cook on low for 6 or 7 hours. Shred when you’re just about ready to serve (I used a set of tongs and squeezed each thigh to shred it) and let it sit just a couple minutes for the spices to get onto everything. Serve.
I have done this same thing using salsa, and while it tastes good without doubt, it can dry out the chicken if you don’t pull it as soon as it is cooked. Essentially, cooking the chicken in salsa creates quite a bit of liquid and you are basically boiling the chicken. Cooking it in butter seems to coat the meat and keep some moisture in. I used frozen chicken which added some more liquid to the mix, so next time, I think I will just use 1/8 of a cup of butter.
I was going to get very motivated and make tortillas and then I didn’t, so we just used store bought ones. Sliced up some lettuce into thin ribbons, sliced some tomatoes into small chunks, brought out the salsa and sour cream, and grated some cheddar, because that’s the only way to have tacos and that was all she wrote.
If you skipped the tortillas and just put this into a taco bowl, it would be very Keto or low carb. If you need some extra fibre, add some black beans to the works or refried beans would be good, as well. You could add some green chilis or bell peppers for some heat or more vegetables. You could stuff some precooked peppers (bell or hot peppers, depending on your spice tolerance) with this filling and top with some cheese for a taco stuffed pepper. You could slice up peppers (bell or hot) into somewhat wide strips and use them as ‘chips’ for taco nachos.
This is a great base to start from.