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Chicken Chalupas (or tostadas)

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Chicken Chalupas

Is it a chalupa or a tostada? No matter - these chicken chalupas (tostadas?) are delicious.

Is this a chalupa or a tostada? Some will say the names are interchangeable. Others will say that it’s a tostada because it’s flat, and that chalupas are supposed to have a little curve to them, kind of like a cross between a tostada and a taco. Honestly, I’m not sure whether this is a tostada or a chalupa, I only know that it’s delicious. 

I also know that when I go to my favorite Tex-Mex spots and order a chalupa, this is what I expect: a flat, round tortilla shell topped with all the good stuff. Kind of like a flat taco salad that also has refried beans and molten cheese. 

And that, to me, is the key to this delicious chalupa: melty cheese that marries shredded chicken and creamy refried beans and declares it one big perfect bite of Tex-Mex. Warm, crunchy, melty, smooth and a little bit chewy. Top that with cold, crispy lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and guac, and you’ve orchestrated a fireworks show of textures and flavors. 

You might think that chicken chalupas at home would be hard. Not so. Everything can be bought pre-made if that’s the way you roll. Or you can choose to make the components – refried beans, enchilada chicken, guacamole. However you do it, and whatever you decide to call it, your dinner companions are going to be happy with these chicken chalupas (or tostadas).

Chicken Chalupas


4 corn tortillas or 4 chalupa (or tostada) shells
Refried beans (for my homemade recipe – worth the time! – click here)
2 cups enchilada chicken (recipe here) or shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken, chopped
2 cups Monterrey jack
2 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
1 cup guacamole
½ cup diced, seeded tomatoes
Traditional or tomatillo salsa (I like Wright’s of Texas)
½ cup crumbled queso fresco
Sour cream, optional

Recipe directions: 

If you’re using corn tortillas instead of pre-made chalupa or tostada shells, heat a little bit of oil on high in a skillet. Add the tortillas one at a time and “fry” them for a couple of minutes on each side, just until they get a little toasty looking. Remove tortillas from the skillet and lay them on top of and under paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

Preheat the broiler. Place the shells on a baking sheet. Top each with refried beans, spreading to the edges of the tortillas. Top the beans with some chicken, then top the chicken with Monterrey jack. Broil the chalupas for a few minutes, until the cheese bubbles and the chicken browns a tiny bit.

Remove the chalupas to plates, and layer on the lettuce, guacamole and tomatoes. Top with a little salsa, sprinkle on the queso fresco and, if you like, add a dollop of sour cream.

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