Thursday, June 30, 2011

Simple Chicken Tacos

So those pancakes did end up waiting until morning. 

Sometimes the simplest of ingredients make the most delicious meal. 
Shredded chicken, braised and coated in Mexican spices. 
Caramelized onion, bell pepper, tomato. 
Black beans, garlic rice, guacamole, cilantro (i did forget the cilantro, snap).
A few extra squeezes of fresh lime to seal the deal. 

makes about 12 servings; cook time: 45 minutes


- As many small white corn tortillas as you think you can eat
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed
       chicken rub
                         - 1 Tbsp: cumin, coriander, paprika
                         - 1/2 Tbsp: dried oregano, ancho chili powder, garlic powder
                         - 1 tsp sea salt
                         - 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 large vidalia onion, sliced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, sliced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cans black beans
- 1 cup basmati rice (to 2 cups water)
         rice seasonings: 
                          - 2 large garlic cloves, minced
                          - 1/2 cup roma tomato, diced
                          - dashes of cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt
                          - a handful of fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
for the guacamole:
- 5 ripe avocados
- 1/2 cup roma tomato, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced 
- 1 lime, zested & halved
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste


Lightly coat the bottom of a dutch oven with olive oil; heat on medium high.
Dry the chicken with a paper towel, then rub with the seasonings.
Add chicken to the dutch oven, browning well on both sides; cook covered until the juices run clear & surface bounces back when pressed on with a fork. Deglaze with a liberal splash of water, & remove chicken to a plate (let rest at least 10 minutes). Shred the chicken with two forks, then stir back into the onion/bell pepper mixture to soak up all the juices.
Add in the onion & bell peppers. Once the onion has begun to caramelize, add in the garlic & remove from heat; set aside.

Meanwhile, heat rice with a Tbsp of olive oil in a medium pan; season with salt & pepper. When the rice starts to become translucent, stir in the garlic, tomatoes, and cilantro. Once the tomatoes begin to reduce, add in 2 cups of water, turn to low & cover for about 20 minutes.

Also meanwhile, drain (leave a small amount of liquid) & heat the beans on medium in a small pan. If unseasoned, add 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.

For the guac: 
Score the avocados and transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Mash according to preferred chunkiness, then add in the tomatoes, garlic, lime zest, and juice of 1/2 the lime. Season with s&p, adding more lime juice if you are a citrus fanatic like me ;) 

Heat your tortillas by themselves in a small pan on medium high; or, for crispier tortillas, add 1 tsp olive oil. Cook until slightly charred on both sides. Place tortillas on individual plates, and pile on the toppings. I like to do this order, from bottom up: rice, beans, chicken/bell ppr/onion, guac, cilantro. Optional: top chicken with a mild cheese, such as cheddar, monterey jack, or queso fresco.

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