Chicken Tostadas with Refried Beans

November 29, 2015

We didn’t have many leftovers from Thanksgiving so we had to cook on Sunday. I broke out a couple more recipes I found while sitting around with my broken leg. I’ve been looking for a simple yet tasty chicken tostada recipe.

I probably shouldn’t admit this but I was looking for something you’d find at a standard mall-issue Mexican restaurant. Back when I was working I’d swim after work a few days a week. One Friday a month Carla goes to dinner with old friends (a group she’s hung out with for over 25 years). I wouldn’t be typically finish swimming until 7:00 and was not interested in cooking, so I’d drop by the nearby mall-issue Mexican restaurant and order a chicken tostada. Their recipe had WAY too much iceberg lettuce but the chicken was stewed in a nice chili sauce – that’s what I was looking for.

After reviewing many recipes on line I settled on one from Everyday Savvy which focuses on bargain hunting. My copy with a few notes and adjustments can be found here.

Chicken tostadas ingredients

Chicken tostadas ingredients

Preparing the chicken is super easy; combine the spices and rub the chicken. I use nitrile gloves when handling raw poultry; they keep my hands clean and I don’t end up having more rub on my hands than the chicken.

Boneless skinless chicken breasts rubbed with spices before stewing.

Boneless skinless chicken breasts rubbed with spices before stewing.

Place in the slow cooker and cover with 3/4 cup salsa. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Chicken in the slow cooker for tostadas

Chicken in the slow cooker for tostadas

I cooked a little over five hours; I think four hours would have sufficed.

I sat down for a couple of hours and watched football before I had to finish dinner. I didn’t have any home made pinto beans for refried beans so I used a Cook’s Illustrated recipe [warning this is a subscription site].

Refried bean ingredients before and after

Refried bean ingredients before and after

It looked promising: render a couple of tablespoons of fat from some salt pork, then brown the onions, chilis, and spices before mixing in some drained and rinsed pinto beans after mixing in a food processor (details here). I couldn’t find poblano or jalapeño chilis at the market (that’s a first) so I substituted Anaheim and serrano chilis. I found them to be pretty bland. Now, the folks behind Cook’s Illustrated are great; I love their companion magazine Cook’s Country and their weekly public television show from America’s Test Kitchen. But being from Vermont they sometimes don’t come through on Southwest cooking.

On the other hand, some of this could be on me. I used my homemade chicken stock and didn’t compensate with adding some salt (the salt pork doesn’t get it tasty enough). Or maybe it was the chili substitutions. Or maybe it was the beans. I think I’ll try this one more time using Better Than Boullion (not using home made stock!? well we only use 1/2 cup); Rosarita pinto beans, and the chilis called for. I’ll check back when I do that and let you know what I think.

Now it was time to pull the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it; and separate the fat and return it all to the slow cooker to keep warm.

Shredded stewed chicken for chicken tostadas

Shredded stewed chicken for chicken tostadas

Now I remembered the downside to cooking Mexican food at home: there are so, so many items for topping.

Chicken tostada toppings

Chicken tostada toppings

With Carla’s help we got the guacamole made and all the other ingredients chopped up. I fried the tortillas (another option is to bake in the oven) and prepared the assembly line. Smear the refried beans on the tortilla then top with chicken, lettuce tomato, cheese (I used a combination of Monterey Jack and Cheddar) and top with a dab of guacamole and sour cream.

Chicken tostadas - dinner is served

Chicken tostadas – dinner is served

Friends and family in Southern California and Texas might turn their noses up at this but it was an okay dinner. If you want a terrific Mexican food dinner, try this Chili Colorado and beans. We will have plenty to eat for a couple more nights. I’ll probably try the tostadas again some day with a few tweaks and report back.

For whatever reason I didn’t get any pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving so I bought one when we went shopping for this dinner. I had a piece while watching Sunday Night Football; yeah, there is pie under there.

Pumpkin pie for dessert

Pumpkin pie for dessert

About howardwthompson

I'm a person who likes to travel, read, cook, and eat
This entry was posted in Cooking, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Chicken Tostadas with Refried Beans

  1. Nancy says:

    Looks yummy! And the pumpkin pie… oh so delicious!

  2. Thanks! We liked the leftovers the day after even more

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