I don’t typically care for chicken tacos. It’s hard to cook chicken well. Pollo can easily get dry, and very seldom do I run into a rub or marinade that will salvage dry chicken. That being said, having experienced some of the magic the Tacolicious cook book has provided me, I decided to try my hand at homemade braised chicken.
What better way to try to avoid dry chicken than a braise right? This recipe called for thighs which I most definitely prefer over breasts. But I had a bunch of chicken breasts just looking all sad in the freezer so I used them instead. Here’s a simplified break down of the recipe:
- Toast some chiles
- Brown the chicken
- Saute the aromatics
- Add beer, a shot of tequila, stock, and chiles to a dutch oven and stew a bit
- Add chicken and cook for 2-3 hours, shredding when fork tender
During this long braising time, I decided to make sides. Having made the rice and taco pickles from this book before I had do them again, easily some of the best items from the books that I’ve encountered. But I also decided to make pickled onions, pickled cucumbers and habeneros, a habenero salsa, and a dried recado rub. The pickled onions were fabulous as is the recado. The cucumbers and habenero salsa were not as good but still tasty, they just didn’t end up working with the chicken the way I envisioned. I thought the habenero salsa would pair well with the chicken but it didn’t. I kept the salsa for about 3 weeks trying it on various dishes but just never found the right flavors for it. I’ll review the salsa in a separate post (found here). The recado is great on everything from eggs to corn on the cob to cottage cheese. Anything that you want to add a bit of salt and spice to, sprinkle some recado!
Chicken’s done! I wanted to cook off some more of the liquid but everything else was finished and I had been in the kitchen for nearly 5 hours cooking at this point. I WANTED TO EAT DAMMIT! And I’m glad I didn’t cook that off. While the flavor of the chicken was phenomenal and super moist, the chicken did end up a tad on the salty side. I think to mend this I would just use less stock or a low sodium stock and not add any salt until the chicken is nearly done. Easy fix for an already phenomenal recipe!
These shot and a beer braised chicken tacos earned a 4.5/5, a score that can easily be upped by fixing the salinity.
Pickled onions and recado earn a perfect 5/5
Pickled cucumbers and habenero salsa earn a respectable 3.5/5