Happy Cinco de Mayo! How are you going to celebrate? (Pssst! If you’re not planning on eating tacos tonight, it’s time to reevaluate your choices.)
Lately I’ve been absolutely swamped with things to do, so I’ve been trying to be a bit minimalistic in the kitchen. Simple recipes with a relatively short list of ingredients that pack in big bites of flavor have been my saviors, and I have found that tacos are a great option for crazy busy days. Chicken Tinga Tacos are no exception! These tacos, which originated in Puebla, Mexico, feature shredded chicken that is stewed in a spicy chipotle tomato sauce with plenty of onion and garlic — I think of the sauce as the Mexican version of marinara. When made in the slow cooker with just a short list of ingredients, they require hardly any effort and are easy on the wallet as well. Who could resist?
Because the chicken filling is already quite tomato-y, I decided not to top my tacos with traditional salsa. Instead, I made a pico de gallo that would back up the flavors in the tinga, using bacon to kick up the smokiness and radish to bring out the spiciness and lend some crunch. Is it still technically pico de gallo if there are no fresh tomatoes in sight? I’m not sure, to be honest. It may not be authentic, but my goodness is it delicious.
Top your Crock Pot Chicken Tinga Tacos with creamy avocado and crumbly cotija, wash them down with a strong margarita, and snap a picture for Instagram with the tag #hostthetoast to show off your foodie fiesta.
For the Chicken Tinga Tacos:
- 2.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 3 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Bacon Pico de Gallo:
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 small radishes, chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- 8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Cotija cheese, crumbled, to top
- 1 avocado, sliced, to top
- 16 corn tortillas, warmed
- Combine the Chicken Tinga Taco ingredients in a slow cooker and set to low for 5-6 hours, or until chicken shreds easily. Discard the bay leaf. Remove the chicken from the tomato sauce mixture and shred with two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker, stir to combine, and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- As the chicken cooks, make the Bacon Pico de Gallo. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the onion, garlic, radishes, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice. Toss to mix. Then, toss in the crumbled bacon. Set aside.
- Scoop the Chicken Tinga mixture into corn tortillas, top with a slice of avocado, Bacon Pico de Gallo, and crumbled cotija cheese. Serve warm.
The chipotle peppers are spicy, so if you’re sensitive to heat you may want to stay on the conservative side. You can always add more at the end if you’d like.