Apr 19, 2016

Cilantro Lime Braised Chicken Tostada with Refried Lentils

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 10 mins
In this chicken tostada recipe cilantro lime braised chicken is served over crispy tortillas with refried lentils and crispy shiitakes

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Tostadas are a great way to use up stale tortillas. A tostada is a tortilla that it fried until crispy and then typically topped with, but not limited to, similar ingredients as a taco. It is basically a crispy Mexican version of an open-face sandwich or piling ingredients on toast.

This chicken is so tender and makes topping for a crispy tostada. I am a big fan of braises- they are just so easy and pretty hard to mess up. The mushrooms are roasted until they are crispy for an added healthy crunch.

You might want to make some more crispy mushrooms than necessary; I kept eating them right out of the oven. Typically refried beans are used for tostadas but in this recipe they are replaced by refried lentils.

Cilantro Lime Braised Chicken Thigh Tostadas with Refried Lentils

chicken tostada

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Chicken thighs – Chicken thighs are the best cut for braising because they release so much flavor and become extremely tender. They are also one of the more inexpensive cuts of chicken so it’s the perfect choice when cooking for a large number of people. Try using leftover chicken tinga meat for this recipe as well in place of the cilantro lime chicken.
  • Poblanos – Poblanos are a mild, deep green pepper frequently used in Mexican cooking. Poblanos are a larger pepper which makes them perfect for filling. These peppers are less spicy than jalapeños, ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville.
  • Shiitake mushrooms – Shiitakes have an earthy, buttery flavor. Cooking them slowly keeps them from burning as they crisp and removes the moisture from them. While it seems like a large quantity of mushrooms to start with – mushrooms are similar to spinach, you start with a ton and end up with a little.
  • Refried lentils – Lentils simmered in chicken stock are refried in bacon fat or oil with various seasonings for a flavorful base in this recipe.

How to Make Cilantro Lime Braised Chicken Tostadas

For the chicken:

  1. Heat oven. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Heat oil. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat a 4½-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through.
  3. Sear chicken thighs. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, sautéing until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes each side.
  4. Braise chicken. Turn the chicken thighs skin side up and add the wine and cilantro to the pot. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour, until meat is fork tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Shred chicken. Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool. Discard the cilantro. Once the chicken is cool to the touch, shred with your hands or using two forks. Discard the bones or save for stock. Return the shredded chicken to the pot with the braising liquid.
  6. Char peppers. Heat a griddle pan over high heat. Add the poblano peppers and cook until blistered on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the grill pan and chop then add to the chicken mixture. Add the chopped cilantro and stir to combine.

For assembly:

  1. Bake mushrooms. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Toss the shiitake mushrooms in olive oil and season with salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the mushrooms are half their size, golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Make tostada shells. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, add enough vegetable oil to fill 2” of the pan and heat to 350º. Add a tortilla and fry on both sides, until crispy, about 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

To serve:

  1. Assemble and serve. To assemble the tostadas, top each crispy tortilla with a scoop of refried lentils, the chicken mixture, and crispy shiitake mushrooms. Drizzle sour cream over the top followed by the queso fresco.
braised chicken tostada with refried lentils

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this chicken tostada recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Cilantro Lime Braised Chicken Thigh Tostadas with Refried Lentils

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Serves 8 tostadas

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • small bunch cilantro
  • 2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish

For assembly:

  • 2 cups refried lentils, get the recipe here
  • 4 medium shiitake mushrooms, sliced into ¼”-wide strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 small (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup queso fresco, crumbled

Instructions:

For the chicken:

  • Preheat oven to 325ºF (170ºC).
  • Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat a 4½-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through.
  • Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, sautéing until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes each side.
  • Turn the chicken thighs skin side up and add the wine and cilantro to the pot. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour, until meat is fork tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool. Discard the cilantro. Once the chicken is cool to the touch, shred with your hands or using two forks. Discard the bones or save for stock. Return the shredded chicken to the pot with the braising liquid.
  • Heat a griddle pan over high heat. Add the poblano peppers and cook until blistered on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the grill pan and chop then add to the chicken mixture. Add the chopped cilantro and stir to combine.

For assembly:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Toss the shiitake mushrooms in olive oil and season with salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the mushrooms are half their size, golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a small sauté pan over medium heat, add enough vegetable oil to fill 2” of the pan and heat to 350ºF (180ºF). Add a tortilla and fry on both sides, until crispy, about 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

To serve:

  • To assemble the tostadas, top each crispy tortilla with a scoop of refried lentils, the chicken mixture, and crispy shiitake mushrooms. Drizzle sour cream over the top followed by the queso fresco.

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