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
This wasn’t a recent eat of mine (I made these back in week 2 or 3 of my taco journey) but I wanted to talk about tacos this week so I figured now was a good time to share this recipe with all of my avid #tacopalooza2015 followers.
Eggs with a creamy runny yolk will get me every time. So it’s no surprise that while stumbling through my favorite food website early on my journey I was immediately curious about this sweet potato, sage, and egg taco. It definitely doesn’t look like a traditional taco but it covers all the bases. And it looked easy! Which is another of the infinite reasons why I like tacos.
Results: Not really what I expected but still great flavor! The creamy, runny yolk mixed with the slightly crispy taters was delightful and savory but the tater chunks kept falling out and the yolk made the corn tortilla soggy. This was actually really hard to eat in a taco. I tried a couple different set ups to prevent yolk and tortilla contact but it all ended up running down my arm and onto my plate any way. I usually consume 3 tacos for a meal and I felt like a pig eating 3 eggs plus other ingredients in one meal (then again I’m the one writing a food blog so feeling like a pig shouldn’t really be an issue for me). Alas, after 3 tacos I called it quits and decided to just eat the rest with a fork sans tortilla.
3.5 out of 5 for flavor.
1 out of 5 for portability.
Last Friday, Chadd kept sending me these cryptic texts. I got done with work and drove up to his place to finally figure out what he was talking about. He had bought me a present and was giving me clues as to where he hid it. This treasure turned out to be a sweet new cookbook called Tacolicious. Just by the looks of the cover art I knew this was gonna be a good one! I was more excited than this bear hula hooping! I paged through the book that evening, reading the intros and about half of the recipes. I NEEDED to make these tacos ASAP! Saturday we decided on a meal: Guajillo braised beef short rib tacos with pickled carrots, cauliflower, and jalapenos, the “Legendary Orange Sauce”, rice-o-licious, and frijoles barrachos.
(In my excitement and clouded judgment of inevitable snacks I forgot to get pictures of the spread, so have this shark chomping on a taco)
Those tacos and all the fixin’s were AAAAAAMAZING! The beef was so tender it fell off the bones and made shredding super easy. They also soaked up all the spices and chilies and gained a mouthwatering deep red/brown color. That meat is everything you want in a taco.
The pickled veggies were a perfect crunchy topping. I was a bit hesitant at first to add the cauliflower but figured “hey, that’s what is called for in the recipe so it must be worth it”. Totally worth it. The cauliflower soaked up all the spicy, vinegary flavor of the pickling juices. I wanna eat that stuff straight up! Too bad I left it at Chadd’s, meaning it will probably be gone before I get up there again 😦
AND THIS ORANGE SAUCE! oh man. So simple but so flavorful. It has a light creamy texture with just the right amount of heat for really any taco. The majority of the spice comes from dried arbol chilies. I kinda just want to fill up a bathtub with this orange sauce and bath in it it is so freaking good.
Finally the rice and beans. Honestly, these got a bit overshadowed to me by the tacos. However, upon eating the rice and beans for lunch on Monday, I was able to re-evaluate how great these sides were. The rice had a lot of chili flavor and the beans were savory and hearty with awesome chunks of bacon.
If every meal we make out of this book is as delicious as this one, I am going to be one happy camper.
5 out of 5 for mind blown nearly orgasmic taste
Taco count: 53