Beer Braised Chipotle Chicken Taco Filling Two Ways

Braised Chicken Taco Filling with Beer
Beer Braised Chipotle Chicken Taco Filling. Photo: Diana Rattray
    50 min

Make it fast or make it slow, and then enjoy a tasty Tex-Mex meal. I used a pressure cooker to make the filling, but the chicken thighs can be cooked in the crock pot as well. See the tips and variations for instructions.

These chicken thighs are first seared, then they are quickly braised to tender, shreddable perfection in the pressure cooker in just 18 minutes. The chicken is flavored with salsa, beer, and finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, but chopped pickled or fresh jalapeno peppers may be substituted.

Serve the flavorful shredded chicken in warm flour or corn tortillas with your favorite taco toppings. 

What You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 boneless chicken thighs, without skin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup chunky salsa, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce or finely chopped fresh or pickled jalapeno peppers
  • 1 cup pale beer
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules or chicken base
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • shredded cheddar, pepper jack, or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Topping Suggestions (optional):
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Sliced green onions
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

How to Make It

  • Pressure Cooker

    1. In the pressure cooker or in a skillet or saute pan on the stovetop, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs and sear, turning to brown both sides. You'll probably have to do this in at least 2 batches. Put the browned chicken in a bowl while you cook the rest.
    2. When the chicken pieces are all browned, set them aside.
    3. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook, stirring, until translucent and lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Combine the chicken and the onion and garlic mixture in the pressure cooker. 
    4. In a small bowl combine the salsa, chipotle pepper or jalapeno, beer, chicken bouillon, and oregano. Pour over the chicken.
    5. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and bring it to high pressure. Cook for 18 minutes.*
    6. Quickly release steam (see manufacturer's instructions). Remove the cover and move the setting to saute or simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the juices are more concentrated, about 4 to 6 minutes. 
    7. Serve the shredded chicken with warm corn or flour tortillas and shredded cheese, along with extra salsa and your favorite toppings. For sides, tortilla chips, Mexican-style rice, refried beans, or fries are all good choices.
    8. *For a conventional stovetop cooker, bring the pressure to 15 psi (high pressure), reduce the heat as much as possible while still maintaining the high pressure, then cook the chicken for 12 minutes.
  • Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)

    1. Sear the chicken and saute the onions and garlic following the above instructions.
    2. Combine the chicken and onion mixture in the slow cooker and add the salsa, chipotle or jalapeno peppers, beer, bouillon, and oregano. Pour over the chicken.
    3. Cover and cook on LOW for about 6 hours, or until the chicken thighs are very tender. 
    4. Shred the chicken and enjoy!
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