May your Cinco de Mayo be filled with happiness and amazing food! Provecho!
- 3 lbs. chicken (I use half bone-in, split chicken breasts and half skinless boneless thighs)
- 1 large white onion cut into thin slivers
- 1 large sweet Vidalia onion halved
- High heat oil, like avocado or grapeseed
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. dried Mexican oregano
- ¼ tsp. ground thyme
- ¼ tsp. cumin
- ¼ tsp. ground marjoram
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 7 oz. can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 28 ounces of Roma tomatoes (I prefer fresh that are charred in a cast iron skillet and skins removed, but fire-roasted canned tomatoes also work when in a pinch)
- Seasoning for chicken (garlic salt, cumin, smoked paprika)
- Take chicken thighs and season them lightly with garlic salt, cumin, and smoked paprika. Brown in Dutch oven in the oil to get crust on each side.
- Add the halved onions, garlic, spices and bay leaf and cover with the chicken stock, plus 1 additional cup of water. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low for 30 minutes covered.
- Season chicken breasts and cook in your favorite smoker until internal temp is 165 degrees. This is the game changer!
- Once smoked chicken is cooked, pull, let cool and shred.
- Remove the boiled chicken along with the onion halves and strain broth into a separate bowl. Shred chicken thighs once cooled.
- Add oil into the Dutch oven that chicken was cooked in and sauté slivered white onions until translucent, making sure not to brown them, about 4 minutes.
- Add the strained broth to the onions and reduce for about 15 to 20 minutes or until it reduces by half.
- In a blender, add halved onion and garlic that was boiled, one can of chipotles, and the tomatoes. Blend until smooth 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add blended chipotle/tomato mixture to the reduced broth and cook for and additional 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the shredded chicken to the sauce and combine well till the chicken is incorporated and covered. Let stew on low for 15 minutes.
PRO TIP: I like to use a combination of mesquite and cherry, as mesquite is very prevalent in Mexican cuisine and the cherry gives a hint of sweetness to balance. I will also char my tomatoes in a cast iron skillet while I’m smoking the chicken.