Hawaiian Chicken Tacos with Jalapeño Ranch Slaw

Image from Pinch of Yum
This week I was in a cooking slump. I had nothing! So I pulled out tons of recipes found during my internet food exploration, or that people shared with me on social media. A whopping FIVE were chosen to try this week. The hope is trying some of the unique offerings of others will help me get my cooking mojo back.

Hawaiian Chicken Tacos with Jalapeño Ranch Slaw from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum was the first I tried. I love trying new flavour combinations, I love fusion food and I love tacos - so a no brainer.  It's an Instant Pot recipe, and I don't have an Instant Pot, so the challenge was how to make it work for me.

I chose to cook it in the crock pot which I thought might give a similar texture. While the tacos were great, I did find I would prefer a little more texture to the meat - it got pretty mushy in the crockpot. So next time I'm going to try baking it to reduce the extra moisture and hopefully give me a firmer meet I can shred into larger chunks. I also used small flour tortillas instead of the corn ones shown in the picture - just a personal preference.

I was worried the fresh pineapple chunks would overpower the other flavours, but the longer cooking blended it evenly with the other seasonings.  And I was concerned they would be too spicy for my husband, but they just had a mild zip in the end. He loved them.

I have 3 sets of instructions below.  First is the original Instant Pot Cooking instructions. Next is the crockpot version I used this time. Lastly, I show the baking instructions I intend to use next time. I can't give exact timing on baking yet until I try it, so be sure to check back.


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Hawaiian Chicken Tacos with Jalapeño Ranch Slaw

1.25 lbs.           Boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 C                   Fresh pineapple, finely chopped
1                      Jalapeño, minced (remove ribs and seeds for less heat)
Half of a red onion, minced
3                      Cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp                Chili powder
1 tsp                Cumin
1 tsp                Salt
1 T                  Sriracha
1 T                  Yellow mustard
1/4 C               Water (Yes in Instant pot - omit in crockpot - I'll have to let you know about baking)

Jalapeño Ranch

1/2 C              Mayonnaise
1/4 C              Olive oil
1/4 C              Water
1 T                 White vinegar
1                     Jalapeño (remove ribs and seeds for less heat)
1                     Clove garlic
1 tsp               Dried dill (or about a tablespoon fresh)
1/4 C              Fresh parsley
1/4 C              Fresh chives (or sub 1/2 teaspoon onion powder)
1/2 tsp            Salt
black pepper to taste

Extras - 
1 bag              Coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
Tortillas (I like small flour ones, but use your favourite kind)
Any extra toppings you like (I found them perfect as it, but could add avocado)

Instructions for Instant Pot

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees (broil setting). Place all chicken ingredients in the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes (20 if frozen). Release the pressure and shred chicken directly in pot. Transfer shredded chicken to a baking sheet lined with foil. Broil for 10-15 minutes until browned.

Pulse jalapeño ranch ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Toss some of the dressing with finely shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix to make a slaw.

Instructions for Crockpot

Place the chicken in the crockpot. Top with pineapple and other ingredients. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
Instructions for Baking (still have to try this way)

This I haven't tried yet, so can't give times.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix chicken with all ingredients and place in a 9 x 13 casserole.  I think the first time I do this I'm going to try and bake it uncovered. What I'm looking for is a dryer final product that I can shed into larger chunks. Play it by ear. You don't want it dry, just not as wet, so cover with foil to keep it moister if it's drying out too fast.

Assembling the Tacos - 

Serve chicken in warm tortillas topped with  Jalapeno Ranch Slaw.  I liked it just like this, just filling with tons of flavour. BUT you can offer the following on the side for guests to add - extra drizzle of jalapeño ranch, slices of avocado, extra pineapple, cilantro, red onion, etc.