I was very surprised to find that one of my favorite Mexican restaurants now offers their famous tacos nestled in a large lettuce leaf instead of a tortilla. I was even more amazed at how much I enjoyed them served that way; I didn’t miss the tortilla at all. So I’ve started experimenting with the idea at home. I modified this recipe from one in a cookbook that I photographed for Chelsie Kenyon a couple of years ago.
1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs
1 small onion chopped
2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, chopped
3-4 cups broth, vegetable or chicken (enough to submerge the chicken)
1 1/2 cups of your favorite salsa or taco sauce. I like La Victoria Salsa Brava Hot sauce
1 tsp. Maggi Seasoning Sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. taco seasoning
1 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup light Mexican shredded cheese
1 head of iceberg or butter lettuce washed and separated into leaf cups
chopped cilantro, limes and your favorite salsa for garnish
Spray a large dutch oven heated to high with cooking oil. Add the chicken and brown on each side for a minute or two.
Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 1 hour covered, stirring occasionally. Remove cover and cook for another hour or until almost all of the liquid is absorbed. Add a little water if the liquid absorbs too quickly - the long cooking time is what makes the chicken so tender. Shred the chicken while still in the pot using two big forks. Continue to simmer until all of the rest of the liquid has been absorbed.
Spoon into leaf cups, top with yogurt, cilantro, cheese and more salsa.
Here’s another version, this time from the top – without cheese.