Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

This post is sponsored by Paderno Kitchenware. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.
assembling chicken taco

Who doesn’t love a good taco? Personally, I think tacos are among the most fun foods to eat. I love getting to choose my own toppings and that you can pack so many fresh flavors into a small, handheld package. We have taco nights fairly frequently in our home, so I’m always brainstorming tasty and seasonal taco filling ideas to keep things interesting.

Chicken tacos might sound a bit dry and boring, but not this one! This chicken taco filling is tender and packed with flavor, thanks to a dose of homemade roasted salsa and the low-and-slow magic of the Paderno 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. I always spring for chicken thighs as they’re generally quite economical, not to mention a flavorful and forgiving cut. They only need a few hours in the slow cooker to turn tender and shreddable; and leftovers don’t dry out in the fridge.

While you could use a storebought salsa for this recipe, I definitely recommend trying this roasted version. Roasting the vegetables adds sweetness and smokiness to the salsa, and this recipe makes enough for both the chicken cooking liquid and for topping your tacos (and probably a bit left over to go with your favorite tortilla chips!).

Serve these tacos with your favorite toppings — I particularly like avocado slices, shredded cabbage, extra salsa and cilantro, and a touch of sour cream.

roasting veggies
adding onions to slow cooker
slow cooker chicken tacos unassembled
slow cooker chicken tacos assembled

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For the roasted tomato salsa:

  • 3 lbs fresh tomatoes (~10-12 medium)
  • 1 medium red onion, skin removed
  • 1 medium white onion, skin removed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 large handful of cilantro, chopped (both leaves and stems)
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice (1-2 Tbsp), salt, and pepper to taste

For the slow cooker chicken taco filling:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (seeded if desired)
  • 3-4 medium cloves garlic, minced

To finish:

  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Reserved roasted tomato salsa
  • Your favorite taco toppings (i.e. avocado slices, cheese, shredded lettuce/cabbage, sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F with a rack in the upper third. Cut a deep “x” into the tops of the tomatoes and onions. Cut the jalapenos in half and deseed. Cut bell pepper into quarters and deseed. Peel and separate garlic cloves.
  2. Arrange vegetables in a single layer in a large roasting pan or baking sheet (I used the Paderno Stainless Steel Multi-Roaster). Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 10 minutes. Switch oven to broil. Broil for ~2 minutes or until vegetables are lightly charred. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  4. While vegetables are cooling, generously season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear on both sides over medium-high heat until browned. Set aside.
  5. When vegetables are cool enough to handle, pulse in batches, along with dried oregano and cilantro, in a food processor or blender until desired consistency (I like to leave it a bit chunky). Taste and adjust seasoning with apple cider vinegar, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
  6. Spread sliced onion, jalapeno, and garlic on the bottom of the Paderno 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker. Arrange seared chicken thighs in a single layer on top. Add enough roasted tomato salsa so that chicken pieces are just barely poking through the top. Reserve and refrigerate remaining salsa.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until chicken is fork-tender. Remove and shred chicken, then stir back into the cooking liquid.
  8. To assemble tacos: Warm tortillas in a dry skillet or in the microwave. Spread a layer of shredded chicken on the bottom of each tortilla and top with your favorite accompaniments. Enjoy!

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