We don’t have a regular weekly taco night around here, but I do make tacos on a regular basis. They fulfill all the requirements of a weeknight dinner: quick, easy, uses whatever you have on hand. I prefer soft tacos with the small flour tortillas, and this filling works really well. It was a big hit last night. (You can also make this with shredded beef or pork, if you prefer.) I like to mix it up with the toppings, offering salsa, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce and tomato, and/or raw onion as the mood strikes me. Shredded cheese is not optional.
Shredded Chicken for Tacos
Time to make: ~30 minutes
Yields: Enough for 4-6 small tacos
- 1 large or 2 small boneless chicken breasts
- Chicken stock for poaching (use water if you don’t have it)
- 4-6 small flour tortillas
- Vegetable oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt, pepper and seasoning mix to taste — I prefer Penzey’s adobo or chicken taco mixes
- Jalapeno hot sauce to taste, or substitute minced jalapenos or other green chiles
- 4-6 sm. tomatoes, chopped — I use whole canned tomatoes and freeze the remainder
- Toppings as desired
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and let warm in the oven while everything is cooking.
Bring the chicken stock or water to a simmer. Submerge the chicken breast in the stock and poach until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness. Set aside to cool briefly, reserving the cooking liquid. Shred with a fork.
While the chicken is cooling, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the onions and garlic. If you are using chiles, add them as well. Saute until the garlic turns golden.
Add the shredded chicken. Season and stir well.
Add the tomatoes and hot sauce, if using. Bring to a simmer, breaking the tomatoes up with the spoon. If the mixture starts to get too dry, add a spoonful or two of the chicken cooking liquid. Cook about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down and the liquid has mostly evaporated.
Spoon the filling into the warmed tortillas and let everyone top as they will.