I have never been a big fan of the slow cooker. Everything tends to come out tasting the same, the long cooking times rendering the ingredients bland. So when I came across a recipe for Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos from the New York Times that called for a slow cooker, I almost moved on.
Then I saw the comments. A reader who had made the recipe before shared this helpful tidbit: For dutch oven equivalent, I use 200 degree oven for low and 300 for high. So bake about 3 hours at 300, 4 hours at 250 or or 5 hours at 200.
Dutch oven it is.
When you’re working with chicken thighs, it’s hard to truly screw things up. The fatty dark meat lends itself much better to long cooking times than a leaner protein, especially when submerged in the saucy goodness this recipe calls for. So I loaded up my Dutch oven (any oven-safe pot with a lid would work, or you could also stick with the slow cooker) with chicken and a couple of other key ingredients.
A can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce is one of the greatest kitchen pantry assets. Shelf stable and bursting with flavor, they add that extra smoky something to a meal like tacos. The chipotles go into the Dutch oven, too, along with a couple of dollops of honey.
I reduced the honey from the original recipe because I introduced another sweet and summery addition to the pot: peaches.
When sliced thin, the peaches render into their softest, sweetest selves, mixing with the chipotles to create a balanced sauce for the chicken. Save some of those sliced peaches for topping your tacos, too. They’ll pair nicely with the crunchy, tangy pickled red onions in this recipe.
This is an ideal dish for weekend meal prep, as it does take a couple of hours to cook. But the leftovers hold up especially well, your large pot of cooked chicken just waiting to be sandwiched between tortillas or used in a variety of other dishes.
Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 to 4 chipotles from a can of chipotles in adobo, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
1 large peach, thinly sliced, divided
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
Juice of 1 lime
Warmed tortillas, for serving
Sliced avocado, for serving
Fresh cilantro, for serving
Combine the chicken, honey, onion and garlic powders, cumin, salt and chipotle chiles, adobo sauce and half of the peach slices in a Dutch oven or 5- to 8-quart slow cooker. Stir well. Cook for at least 3 hours in a 300-degree oven (or “high” in the slow cooker), and up to 5 hours in a 200-degree oven (or “low” in a slow cooker).
Meanwhile, place the onions in a small bowl and add the red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and let sit for at least 1 hour.
When chicken is done, remove Dutch oven carefully from oven and, using two forks, coarsely shred the chicken in the sauce. Stir in the black beans and lime juice. Cover and let the beans warm through, about 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt or lime juice if necessary.
Serve in tortillas and top with remaining peach slices, pickled onion, avocado and cilantro.
Serves 2 to 4.
Source: Adapted from the New York Times