Friday, January 24, 2014

Stewed Chicken Tacos with a Quick Pico




 In the midst of this unending winter, I  felt I was craving something to remind me of summer. Mexican food  makes me feel bright and happy. I love the vibrant flavors, the fresh ingredients, and of course--the great spices! I came a across a similar  recipe on Foodie Crush and I was inspired. I made a few changes--including making this recipe crock pot compatible--and added a couple of my favorite toppings/sauces.

Tell me what you think!



First we need to get started on the Stewed Chicken:

Ingredients:
-1 lb. fresh or frozen chicken breasts (if they are fresh, you will have a shorter cooking time)
-3 cups of chicken stock
-3 whole Guajillo chilis (found in the Mexican section where all of the dried things are--they are about 5-6 inches long and pretty mild)
-4 whole garlic cloves, skins removed
-a bunch of cilantro, stems torn off (about 15 stems)
-2 bay leaves
-1/2 tsp. cumin
-1/2 tsp. of dried basil
-1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
-1 tsp. salt
-half a bottle of beer

Put everything  into the crock pot. Turn it on. BAM. Done. For frozen chicken, cook for 2 hours on high, for fresh chicken, cook for 2-2 1/2 hours on low.




Once the chicken is done (aka no longer pink in the  center), take it out of the pot and set it aside. Pull the stems from the chilis--leaving the rest in the pot--and pour half of the mixture into a blender. Put the lid on and hold it down tightly when you start to blend, as hot liquids expand when blended. Leave it on for a good  30 seconds until everything is liquidified. Pour into a pot on the stove. Repeat with the rest of the stuff from the crock pot.

When finished, you should have a fantastic-looking and smelling sauce. The next step is to let this simmer  down halfway. Stir it occasionally while it boils down.




While the chicken is cooking--or while the simmering is happening, you an get the sauces done.

Pico de Gallo:
-3 roma tomatoes, finely diced
-1/2 a red onion, finely diced
-1 clove of garlic, finely diced
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. paprika
-zest of 1 lime
-juice of 1 lime
-1/4 cup of citrus vinegar or white vinegar
-a sprinkling of chopped cilantro

Combine and let sit for 10 minutes. Taste it  and add more salt or acid as needed.


   





Once your sauce has reduced down and is a thicker consistency, turn off the heat. Shred up your chicken and pour over about 1 cup of sauce. Blend it together. Add more if you want more!





Next, get ready to serve! I served mine with herby mix, cheddar cheese, pico, some rice, and a drizzle of my cilantro-lime dressing. Also, you can toast your 6 inch (the smallest ones they sell) taco tortillas by hanging each one over a bar in your oven (as though they were  blankets hanging over a railing), and cooking them at 400 for 6-8 minutes. That way they maintain their shape and give you  a little crunch! P.S., I always get flour tortillas for tacos, because I think that those flappy corn tortillas just taste gross....





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