Even though we aren’t Mexican, my entire family LOVES Mexican food. We eat it at least once a week – tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, and on special occasions (or to impress company) chicken tostadas. The chicken tostadas are our absolute favorites but involves too many different steps and pots and pans to make the regular dinner rotation. I’ll share some shortcuts with you so you can adapt it into an easier meal, but if you take any of the shortcuts, you won’t get the full culinary experience which I recommend you experience at least once.
The first step is to boil some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a pot of water with a sliced onion, sliced green pepper, and a few sprigs of cilantro. If you have leftover rotisserie chicken you can also use that, but the flavor might be a little different. The chicken just needs to be shredded once it is cooked.
While the chicken is boiling, you’ll start preparing your tostada shells. The traditional Mexican dish calls for corn tortillas but everyone in my family prefers flour tortilllas so we use those. You’ll deep fry each one for a few seconds in canola oil (I use a ladle to push the center down to form a shallow bowl shape). Let the shells dry on paper towels while you finish the other steps. We almost always buy a pack of tostada shells at the store as back up in case we run out of our homemade shells or accidentally burn or break some. If you want to skip the bowl making altogether, you could simply substitute the pre-made variety available in most grocery stores.
Next, you’ll prepare the chorizo and bean mixture. You can skip the chorizo, but it completely changes the meal. The chorizo adds so much flavor, it truly is the star of the dish. My husband will usually slice the chorizo into bite size portions before frying it, but I prefer to squeeze the meat out of the casing and fry it that way. Once the chorizo is fully cooked, add the refried beans and mix well in the skillet.
Finally, you have to prepare all of the toppings. What you include is entirely up to your own tastes, but for me the red onion, roma tomatoes, feta cheese, avocado and jalapenos are essential. My husband always has to have lettuce for his and my kids complain if we don’t have sliced black olives. The nice thing about these tostadas is that everyone makes their own so each person’s is perfect for him or her. Here are the toppings we usually offer:
If you are looking at the final product wondering how you possibly eat these without making a mess, the answer is that you don’t. Prepare to make a huge mess! My husband picks his up and eats it like a pizza. My daughter breaks her shell apart and eats it like a dip. I’m a nerd and I eat mine with a fork and knife. There’s no wrong way to do it, but it’s impossible to look civilized (even with a fork and knife) while you enjoy this meal. No one will care though because it tastes absolutely amazing.
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 large green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 bunch cilantro
- Canola oil (for frying)
- 12 small flour or corn tortillas
- 1 lb chorizo (casings removed)
- 2 (16 oz) cans refried beans
- 4 roma tomatoes
- 1 large red onion
- 2 avocadoes
- 1 head lettuce
- 1 can sliced black olives
- 1 pkg. crumbled feta cheese
- 2 jalapenos, diced
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- In large pot, boil chicken breasts with one sliced bell pepper, one sliced onion, and a sprig or two of cilantro until fully cooked.
- While chicken is boiling, heat oil in deep fryer or pot to 350° (medium low heat on stove). Add one tortilla to oil, pressing down on the center of the tortilla with a ladle or wooden spoon to form "bowl" shape. Fry for about 30 seconds or until light golden brown. Remove to paper towel to dry. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried.
- Shred chicken.
- In a frying pan, brown chorizo. When fully cooked, drain fat. Add refried beans and stir well. Reduce heat to lowest setting to keep warm.
- Chop toppings and place in serving bowls.
- To make tostadas, first place a layer of chorizo bean mixture on the tortilla, then add shredded chicken. Top with desired additional toppings.