These low-and-slow cooked Braised Chicken Tacos put the comfort in comfort food. Tequila and beer combine with broth, tomatoes, and spices to yield an unctuous, decadent braised chicken taco filling. It will skyrocket your tacos to another dimension of flavor.
Taco Tuesday is my favorite non-holiday. I sometimes even celebrate it when it's not Tuesday! There are so many styles of tacos to enjoy in honor of the occasion. Whether you make the basic, tried and true ground beef tacos, or something more complex and time consuming, it's bound to be delicious.
Braised taco fillings
Although I love a quick taco fix, sometimes it's worth a slower approach to build intense flavors. That's why I love braised tacos fillings. There are definitely some similarities between these Shot-and-a-Beer Braised Chicken Tacos and these Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Rib Tacos.
They both utilize the same technique, but with some variances in the braising liquid. This particular braised chicken taco recipe uses ancho and dried chipotle chiles as well as beer and tequila.
Chicken is less expensive than beef short ribs. Arguably this recipe is a lot more approachable and cheaper to make than the latter. It's incredibly flavorful, juicy, and just out-of-this-world good!
It's hard to describe the flavor intensity of the sauce. I just highly recommend trying it yourself. Whether you use chicken breasts, tenders, or thighs, keep an eye on the chicken and sauce for the perfect shredding consistency as white meat will cook faster than dark.
You can easily make this filling ahead of time and either freeze or refrigerate and gently reheat the day of. I've done this multiple times with various braised taco fillings, and it works great!
This will save time when hosting game day, Cinco de Mayo, or any taco-eating occasion. Serve tacos on their own or make them more of a meal. I served up some Rice-o-licious (also from the Tacolicious cookbook), and simple refried black beans with these juicy braised chicken tacos.
Other taco recipes you may like
- Achiote Grilled Chicken Tacos
- Adobo Chicken Tacos
- Guajillo-Braised Short Rib Tacos
- Sweet Potato Tacos
- Grilled Fish Tacos
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Shot-and-a-Beer Braised Chicken Tacos
- 3 ancho chiles stemmed and seeded
- 2 dried chipotle chiles stemmed and seeded
- ¼ cup vegetable oil or more if needed
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, tenders, or breasts (for breasts, slice horizontally in half into 2 thin cutlets each)
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 (12-ounce) can or bottle favorite beer
- 1 shot (1 ½ ounces) favorite tequila
- 1 cup chicken broth preferably low-sodium
- 1 cup canned diced or crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano (or regular dried oregano)
- Corn tortillas warmed, for serving
- Chopped white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and salsa of your choice for serving
- Toast the ancho and chipotle chiles in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat, turning once, for about 30 seconds on each side, until fragrant but not blackened. Take care they do not burn. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, working in batches, add the chicken and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Add an extra drizzle of oil if needed to prevent sticking. As the thighs are ready, transfer them to a plate and set aside.
- Add the onion to the oil remaining in the pot and saute over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion is caramelized. Add the garlic and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the toasted chiles, beer, tequila, broth, tomatoes, salt, cumin, and oregano, turn down the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until the chiles have completely softened. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- While the oven is heating, pour the chile mixture into a blender and process until almost completely smooth (a little texture is fine). Return the chicken to the pot and pour the pureed sauce evenly over the top.
- Cover the pot, place in the oven, and cook for 1 ½ hours for chicken tenders or breasts, or 2 hours for chicken thighs. Remove the lid and continue to cook, stirring if necessary to prevent sticking, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is fork tender. If the sauce starts to reduce too much and the chicken begins to stick, add a little water or broth. Remove from the oven and use tongs or a fork to loosely shred the chicken, leaving it in the sauce.
- Serve with the tortillas, onion, cilantro, and lime.
- This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind.
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*