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Tacos in a Dutch Oven? It’s the Best Way to Make Tender, Pull-Apart Meat

Mexican may not be the first thing you think of when you look at your Dutch oven, but it's the perfect vessel for the fall-off-the-bone filling in these Chicken Tingo Tacos.

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Winter is the perfect season to dust off your Dutch oven for heartier, warming meals. There’s nothing quite like Dutch-oven cooking for cozy and flavorful meals with no fuss and minimal cleanup.

When you think of Dutch oven cooking, Mexican probably isn’t the first cuisine that comes to mind, but these Chicken Tinga Tacos with Salsa Fresca benefit greatly from the efficient heat conduction of your Dutch oven. Once you’re ready to shred your Dutch-oven-simmered chicken, the meat pulls apart effortlessly, making  perfectly tender taco filling. The bone-in chicken is simmered with fragrant spices, tomatoes and chipotle chiles for a deeply flavorful taco filling.

Both the filling and the salsa hold up well in the refrigerator and make great leftovers for lunch the next day and up to three days later. The shredded chicken is also delicious added to soups, quesadillas, wraps, sandwiches, on nachos and even on pizza. 

Step 1

Arrange racks in lower half of oven; preheat oven to 350ºF. Dust chicken with ½ tsp salt, cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika and black pepper. On the stove top, heat oil in a medium (3.5 quart) Dutch oven on medium-high. Working in batches if necessary, add chicken, flesh side down, and cook, flipping halfway, for 10 to 12 minutes, until browned. Transfer chicken to a plate. Reduce heat of burner to medium.

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Step 2

Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add half of garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in chipotle peppers with adobo. Add broth, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add diced tomatoes, tomatillos and 1 tbsp lime juice. Bring to a simmer. Return chicken to pot, pressing to submerge. Cover and transfer to oven; roast until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF, 30 to 40 minutes.

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Step 3

Meanwhile, assemble salsa: In a small bowl, combine Roma tomatoes, 2 tbsp cilantro and remaining 1 tbsp lime juice, half of garlic and ¼ tsp salt. Toss to coat and set aside.

Step 4

Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in oven, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove chicken, discard bone and shred meat with 2 forks. Using an immersion blender, blend sauce until smooth. Bring sauce to a simmer then add tapioca mixture; simmer 3 to 4 minutes, until thickened slightly. Return chicken to pot and toss to combine. Stir in remaining ¼ cup cilantro. Serve chicken with tortillas, lettuce, cheese and salsa.

Step 5

Enjoy! You can check out the full recipe here.

Chicken Tinga Tacos


For more step-by-step Better Cook inspiration, check out the following:

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