So my patio has been quite bare since I moved back in May. I haven’t been desperately looking for a patio set either because – well you know, life. I have a two seater bistro table but hard to fit a few friends around that for dinner. My wonderful cousin actually works for a patio shop and said he would keep a look out for an old set someone wanted to dump that was still in good condition. I love restoring old furniture into something new so I was glad to be patient and wait.
A few weeks ago, he called me saying he had found a set that would work for us. 4 chairs, glass top and a mostly heavy duty aluminum set that was nearly 20 years old, but still looked great. I was in! Isn’t it cool? Definitely unique and kinda goes with the idea we live so near the beach.
I wanted to show my gratitude for driving that thing over and lugging it into my backyard – with the help of Bradley of course. Come to find out it weighs about a billion pounds. So while the boys carried heavy things, I set up lunch and chatted with his wife.
I wanted something easy that was pretty much already done because I had to work pretty late the night before. Tacos take minimal work once the meat is done so I figured those were a safe bet. While I was at work, I put my slow cooker on and let it do all the work for me!
I’m a dark meat kinda girl so I used chicken thighs but feel free to use white meat if you prefer it. A mixture of cranberries, chipotle, some earthy spices and a little bit of brown sugar created a perfect rich sauce that cooked the chicken to perfection.
I removed the chicken and shredded it separately then simmered the sauce to reduce it so I could keep all that wonderful flavor. When we were ready for lunch, I just dumped the chicken back in the pot to simmer a couple minutes and warm through.
Already these tacos smelled amazing. I had gotten some great green chile corn tortillas at the store and warmed them just a bit to make them pliable. I also grabbed some cojita cheese because that tangy bit of cheese would cut through the aromatic chicken. But I still needed something to bring it together.
Pears are amazing this time of year, but I always end up with really hard ones or way too soft ones. Rather than add a really sweet fruit to these tacos I went with more of a vinegary bite – more like coleslaw. A couple of those hard pears would be a good delivery system for that tanginess. I whipped up a basic pickled pear and it was that pop of flavor these tacos needed.
I love coming home to a meal that’s almost completely cooked and ready to eat don’t you? These tacos are warm, wintery and easy peasy.
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 3 chipotles in adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- ½ large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 firm pears, peeled and cut into a large julienne
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- Cojita cheese
- Flour or corn tortillas
- Wedges of lime, optional
- In a slow cooker combine all the chicken ingredients and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Remove chicken to a separate plate and strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan, removing all the large chunks. Simmer sauce on low until reduced by half. Shred the chicken and return to sauce to heat through.
- Prepare the pickled pears: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss gently. Let sit 5 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
- Using the tortillas, build the tacos with chicken and pickled pears, topping them with cheese and a squeeze of lime.