Most Chicken Taco recipes call for breast meat. Why not change things up a bit by using boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead? The flavor of the dark meat is superior to the white meat. The boneless, skinless variety of thigh meat isn’t overly fatty. And it’s a heck of a lot cheaper. All of these are definite reasons in favor of changing things up a bit.
We’ve been going through the white meat breasts lately, leaving a freezer full of dark meat packages. That’s when it struck me – why not use dark meat for tacos? These were delicious – reminiscent of tacos I’ve had in Mexico. My guys loved it, too.
There is no need to thaw the thighs, just throw them in the slow cooker frozen. When everything is cooked up, there will be a great deal of liquid in the pot. No fear, simply drain off the excess liquid and reserve to moisten meat as desired. The juices are very flavorful. I used some of the cooking liquid to add to the Spanish Rice and Refried Beans. The added juice gave the sides a nice flavor as well. At the end of the night, there was still plenty of taco filling for yet another meal. Some of the cooking liquid was added to the storage bag to help keep the filling moist in the refrigerator until ready to serve again. (I’m thinking Burritos filled with rice and chicken).
Spicy Chicken Thigh Tacos in a Slow Cooker
Chicken Thigh Filling
1/4 Cup Chopped Jalapeno Peppers (Nacho Style)
1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
1/4 Cup Taco Seasoning
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 can Green chilies, diced
1 jar Salsa Verde, medium
Dump Jalapeno peppers, chicken broth and Taco seasoning into the bowl of a slow cooker. Stir to blend. Place chicken thighs into pot. Pour the salsa verde and green chilies over the top of the chicken. Cover and set on low.
Cook for 8 hours, stirring once to push any chicken down into cooking liquids.
Place a colander over a large bowl. Ladle contents of crock pot into colander. Pour any remaining contents of crock pot into colander. Allow to drain.
Return chicken to pot, shred with a fork. Moisten meat with cooking liquid as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning as desire.
Shells and Toppings
12-18 Taco shells, depending upon size
8 Green Lettuce, shredded
2 Plump Roma Tomatoes, chopped
1 Cup Mexican Cheese, Shredded
1/2 Cup Sour Cream, if desired
Place taco shells in the oven to warm. While shells are warming, shred lettuce and chop tomatoes.
Place warmed shells on a large plate or platter for easy serving.
Place chopped garnish toppings into bowls for easy serving.
Build tacos as desired.
Recipe yields 12-18 tacos, depending upon size.
Stay tuned – in a couple of days we’ll be making burritos from left-over chicken . . .