Shredded Pueblo Chicken

Shredded Pueblo Chicken

2 or 3 chicken breast halves
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon menudo spices*, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon corn oil
4 green onions, trimmed and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 fresh jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
flour tortillas

Place the chicken breasts in a pot just large enough to hold them snugly. Add enough water to cover the breasts by 1/2 inch. Remove the breasts and set aside. Into the water, add the onion, 1 clove of crushed garlic, the menudo spices and bay leaves. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and let simmer 10 minutes.

Add the chicken breasts, making sure they are just barely covered by the water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes, skimming off any foam that may appear on the surface. Cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let the chicken set for 25 to 30 minutes.

Carefully remove the chicken from the still hot broth and set the chicken aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, skin the chicken and coarsely shred the meat from the bone. Discard the skin, bay leaves and garlic clove but keep the broth. Skim the fat from the broth.

Chop the remaining 2 cloves garlic. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and cook until slightly browned on the edges. Add the garlic and cumin to the skillet, along with the chiles, salt, tomatoes and shredded chicken. Using a slotted spoon, put the onions from the stock into the skillet. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking broth. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Serve the chicken with warm flour tortillas on the side.

NOTE: Do not discard the remaining broth. Use it as a soup or for cooking other dishes (it’s great for cooking beans). A quick side dish to the chicken is to simmer diced potatoes in the stock until cooked through. The potatoes end up soft but chunky, and the broth becomes thick, creamy and flavorful.

*NOTE: Look for cellophane packages in the Mexican food aisle of your grocer marked “Menudo Mix” or “Menudo Spices.” If not available, substitute mixed dried herbs such as oregano, marjoram, thyme and a dash of crushed red chili pepper.

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