Whenever I hear someone say that their favorite food is Mexican food, the first thing that typically pops in my head is “Well, duh.” With bright, familiar ingredients, it’s always my go-to easy dinner out. But what about easy dinners in?
The Mexican Slow Cooker by Deborah Schneider is our Cookbook of the Month, and as cooking columnist Sybil Pratt writes, “So much of what we love about the Mexican kitchen are dishes cooked in a simple olla or pot that simmers slowly on the back of the stove. . . Once everything is in the cooker, it will work its magic and all you’ll have to do is accept the ‘Olés.’”
Chicken with Chipotles and Onion on Crisp Tostadas
- 21/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked and washed (about 16 small)
- 1 jalapeño chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise
- 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 to 4 canned chipotles in adobo
- 2 large white onions
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon whole dried Mexican oregano
- Round corn tostadas (see Note)
- Diced Hass avocado
- Mexican crema
Place the chicken in the slow cooker and add the water and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, or until just tender.
While the chicken cooks, make the salsa. In a 2-quart saucepan combine the tomatoes, tomatillos, and jalapeño. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the tomatillos are barely tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the vegetables well and transfer them to a blender along with the garlic, chipotles, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Blend until fairly smooth and refrigerate the salsa until needed.
Peel the onions and cut 1/2 inch off the stem and root ends. Cut each onion in half vertically. Set one onion half on the root end and cut from top to bottom to create 1/4-inch slices. Repeat with the remaining onion halves.
When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker and break it into large pieces. Strain the cooking liquid, discarding the solids, and reserve for another use.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and oregano and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the salsa and chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes, or until heated through.
Note: Available in all Mexican markets, tostadas are 4- or 5-inch round corn tortillas that are fried until crisp. They are often sold in stacks labeled as tostadas caseras.