I cannot get enough of this smoky pulled chicken! Made with succulent boneless chicken thighs, spices and chipotle paste and utterly delicious on its own, served with rice, piled on top of nachos or stuffed inside tacos or a burrito. Versatile, easy and tasty? It's a yes from me. I always love making foods that can be served in several different ways as it means that using leftovers are easy and don't require you to keep eating the same dish for 3 straight dinners. Not that you're likely to have any leftovers of this mind you...it's pretty addictive.
This smoky pulled chicken brings all the warmth, it's hot and spicy, tender and juicy. I made it pretty off the cuff, I just had a craving for some delicious shredded chicken and actually managed to pull it off pretty well I think (please, forgive the pun)!
This is a pretty hot and spicy shredded chicken so you can remove some of the heat if you like by adding less chilli, or just smother it in sour cream to cool it down when you eat it which is always my choice. It tastes great with a classic guacamole, and I also served a sweetcorn salsa when I made my leftovers into these tacos the next day!
This was inspired by my research into Mexico which is somewhere I am dying to go, and hearing all about Pollo Tinga from friends who have been there. Mexican Chicken Tinga is a pulled chicken
There are a few stages to making this smoky pulled chicken but it really isn't very complex. First, gather all your ingredients together and then crack on.
- Boneless chicken thighs
- Chipotle paste
- White onion
- Bell pepper
- Ground cumin
- Ground coriander
- Dried oregano
- Chilli flakes
- Garlic powder
- Tinned tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
Place the chicken thighs in a bowl with the chipotle paste and leave to marinade in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Peel the onion and cut the bell peppers in half, removing the seeds. Place them on a baking tray in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, we want them charred to give a smoky flavour.
Peel the skins off the peppers
In dry non-stick pan, fry the spices for a minute until fragrant.
Blend until a smooth, spicy red sauce forms and season with salt to taste.
Place the onion, peppers and spices in a blender and add the tinned tomatoes.
Blend until smooth and season with salt to taste.
Now fry the chipotle chicken thighs in some oil and once browned on either side, pour over the sauce. Leave to cook for 20 minutes and then shred the meat with two forks. Leave to cook for a further 10 minutes and then you're ready!
Hint: Chicken thighs are much better to use in recipes like this as they have higher fat content and therefore won't dry out.
Here are a few ways you can change up this recipe to suit you!
- Mild - Remove the chilli flakes from the spice mix to turn down the heat on this recipe
- Bun - Make it into a sandwich!
- Vegetarian - Try this with jack fruit to make it suitable for vegetarians or vegans
This smoky pulled chicken recipe doesn't need much in the way of fancy equipment, but a good Le Creuset casserole pan and a kitchenaid will serve you well for many a food adventure so I'll always recommend it!
Store any leftovers in an air tight container in the fridge. Good for 2-3 days.
Make more of this than you think you will need, as you will want leftovers.
Smoky Pulled Chicken
- Oven tray
- casserole pot
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoon chipotle paste
- 500 grams boneless chicken thighs
- 1 white onion
- 2 bell peppers
- 1 can tinned tomatoes
- 1 lime
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C / 400F
- Marinate the chicken in the chipotle paste and leave in the fridge.
- Peel the onion and slice the peppers in half lengthways, removing the seeds
- Place the onions and peppers on a baking tray and cook in the hot oven for 30 minutes until charred on the outside
- Heat a non-stick frying pan and dry fry the spices for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Peel the skin off the peppers
- Place the peppers, onion, spices and the tin of tomatoes to the blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
- Heat some oil in a casserole pot and fry the chicken until browned on both sides.
- Add the sauce, and allow to cook down for 20 minutes.
- Using 2 forks, shred the chicken. Allow to cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Serve with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.