Friday, January 24, 2014

I is for: Iceberg Lettuce Tacos with Slow Cooked Shredded Chicken

So I've been on this slow carb kick lately (which basically means I don't eat carbs or dairy during the week and then go crazy with whatever I want on Sundays). Oh! And wine. I can have red wine. So that's a win.

As difficult as it sounds, it's really not that bad. The cheat day gives you something to look forward to, and during the week, you just have to get a little creative.

Enter these "tacos."

You still get a little crunch from the iceberg lettuce, but you don't have to worry about the carbs from the tortillas.

To make them, I used my basic slow cooker shredded chicken recipe, which I realized I've never really posted on the blog. This chicken is super versatile... great for chili or tortilla soup, or as a filling for enchiladas (red or green!)



Start with about 2 pounds of chicken. I actually prefer the flavor of chicken thighs, but chicken breasts are a little healthier. A nice compromise is to use a combo of both! When I made my tacos, I only had boneless skinless breasts in the freezer, so that's what I used for this particular recipe. You can certainly cut the recipe in half, or freeze part of the chicken once it's done cooking if you don't plan to use all of it right away.

For the taco seasoning, you can either use a store-bought packet, or 1/4 cup of a homemade blend. I've been using one I found over at Kalyn's Kitchen for awhile now, which I love.

Sometimes I will chop up an onion and some garlic, but they tend to disintegrate a bit in the slow cooking process, so I'm not sure how much they really add.


For a little smoky spice, I also added two chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Again, because the flavors will mellow out quite a bit in the slow cooker, you may decide to add some more once the chicken has cooked. Depends on what spice level you prefer.


I like to add just a little bit of liquid to keep the chicken moist (especially if you are using boneless skinless breasts). I added about 1/2 cup of chicken stock, but some Mexican beer (such as Corona) or a little tequila might be a fun twist as well.


Once the slow cooking is complete (3-4 hours on high, 6-8 hours on low), the chicken will basically fall apart just by looking at it. (Probably more practical though is to use two forks). Skim out any fat from the cooking liquid and return to the slow cooker to soak up the juices. Keep on warm until ready to serve.


Serve the chicken inside iceberg lettuce leaves (I like to trim them down a little if they're really big), alongside your favorite toppings. This would also be great as part of a taco bar for Super Bowl... simply set out all different types of taco toppings... avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, black beans, limes, sour cream, cheese, salsa, (habanero carrot hot sauce??), etc. You could provide lettuce AND tortillas as options for people. The slow cooker convenience makes this perfect for game day OR an easy weeknight meal. I hope you enjoy these healthy, low carb tacos as much as I do!

Lettuce Tacos with Slow Cooked Shredded Chicken

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Keywords: slow-cooker entree low-carb low-fat gluten-free chicken chipotle iceberg lettuce Mexican

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
  • 2 pounds chicken (boneless thighs or boneless breasts work well)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (or 1/4 of a homemade blend)
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • taco toppings
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker and sprinkle with seasoning and minced chipotle peppers. Add 1/2 cup of broth, and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  2. Remove chicken to a bowl and shred with two forks. Check for seasoning and add more peppers or salt if needed. Skim fat from cooking liquid and return chicken to slow cooker with liquid. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  3. Carefully peel leaves from lettuce and trim if needed. Spoon chicken into leaves and top with your favorite taco ingredients.
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