Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos
It’s that time of year, too much to do and so little time. This recipe, adapted from the book Nourishing Meals by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, is a tasty way to get dinner on the table in no time. All your preparation can be done ahead; it makes a big batch and can be adapted to everyone’s taste and nutritional requirements.
If you don’t have a slow cooker don’t despair, the original recipe bakes the filling in the oven at 325 degrees until the meat falls apart. Simply follow the directions below using a covered casserole dish instead of the cooker and bake one hour covered and one hour uncovered in the oven.
1 or 2 large dried chili peppers (most groceries carry different varieties)
1 cup boiling water
4 cloves of garlic
½ tsp chipotle chili powder
OR 1 tsp regular chili powder and ½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsps salt or Herbamare
3 lbs of chicken, lean pork or beef
1 large onion diced
1 small tin of tomato paste or a big can of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
- Put dried chilies in a small dish and cover with boiling water. Let soak for 15 minutes to rehydrate.
- In the cup of a small food processor, kitchen blender or cup for an immersion blender place garlic, spices and salt. Drain water from chilies into the spice mix. Clean the seeds out of the peppers and discard along with any stems. Add chilies to the mix and blend well. (I love my Magic Bullet to do this part).
- Preheat a slow cooker on high for 15 minutes. Place onion and meats in the bottom. Mix tomatoes, oil and blended chili mixture till smooth. Pour over meat and onion and stir.
- Cook on high temperature for 4 hours or low temperature for 8 hours or until meat flakes easily. Use two forks to flake all of the meat and mix with the sauce to coat.
Shells for tacos can be corn tortillas, hard shell tortillas or gluten free tortillas. Or go shell free with a taco salad and use rice or corn chips to garnish. Or forget tortillas and serve filling over a bed of brown rice with garnishes on the side.
Garnishes that are nice include shredded lettuce, diced tomato, sliced green onions, slices of avocado or some guacamole, sliced olives, shredded cheddar or sour cream (if you choose to eat dairy). Top with salsa for authentic zing.
In a pinch you can use ground chicken, turkey or beef. Meat should be browned in oil with the onions then added to the spice blend and tomatoes. You only need to cook it for a couple of hours to blend the spice flavour into the meat. Great for entertaining a crowd, simply lay out your shells, garnishes and sauces and everyone builds their own, scooping their filling hot from the slow cooker.
If you are a vegetarian there is no reason this recipe can’t be made with 3 cups of cooked or canned beans and 2 cups of diced sweet potato. Just mix the spice blend and tomatoes in the slow cooker with the beans and potatoes. Cook until the sweet potatoes are done.
Taco Dip is a great way to use up leftover taco components or make up the dip first and use the leftovers to make dinner or lunch the next day.
In a 9 inch glass pie pan (or suitable dish) spread a 1 cm layer of taco dip. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced green peppers, slivered green onions and guacamole. Serve with tortilla chips to scoop up the deliciousness.
Looking for a holiday gift? Cornerstone Naturopathic has a limited number of copies of Nourishing Meals available. Why not buy a copy as a gift to someone special, or buy your own copy and give the gift of nourishing meals to your family and friends?