Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos

Last Friday I purchased a cookbook I’ve been eyeing for a while (thank you Borders for the 40% off coupon!). I’ve been wanting one of Rick Bayless’ cookbooks since the beginning of time and after scanning the titles I decided to go with Mexican Everyday.  I’ve heard it mentioned here and there, and since I don’t always have hours and hours to do prep work on a dinner, this cookbook seemed perfect for me, as it contains recipes that one can complete in little time, which is perfect for me since most of the time I get home from work between 6 and 6:30.  Last Saturday, the day after my purchase, I was already cooking one of his meals- a Red Chile Chicken Enchilada (I will definitely be making it again, so you can expect it on here at some point), and it was excellent!  Today I thought I’d go with another of the recipes from this cookbook, and I decided on the Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos.

I make a lot of chicken because it is the meat I am most comfortable cooking and it is so versatile…. and it was on sale for $1.99/pound this week, which didn’t hurt!!!  Yep, I’ll be making a lot of chicken this week it seems.  The chiles used in this recipe are poblanos, but he says that pretty much any large fleshy pepper will work (red peppers and Anaheims are the others he mentions).  I served these with a Mexican rice recipe that I found on Annie’s Eats a few weeks ago that is just amazing, and I’ll post up sometime, and canned black beans (which I added some cumin, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder to).  It was a seriously delicious and filling meal, but so good that I just wanted to keep eating until my stomach burst or I went into a food coma.



Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos
Tacos de Pollo al Chile Poblano
Serves 4


Ingredients:
2 large fresh poblano chiles
2 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil (divided use)
1 large white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound (3 medium-large) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
12 warm corn tortillas, store-bought or homemade
About 3/4 cup Roasted Tomatillo Salsa or Guacamole, or bottled sauce or hot sauce, for serving

Directions:
1.  Roast the poblano chiles, either over an open flame, or under the broiler.  If roasting them over and open flame, turn them often, until blackened all over.  It’ll take about 5 minutes.  If roasting them under the broiler, adjust to the highest rack.  Place them on a baking sheet (I lined mine with foil), roast about 5 minutes on each side.  When done, put the peppers in a bowl, and cover it with a kitchen towel, or plastic wrap.  Leave them in the bowl until cool enough to handle.
2.  Turn the oven on to its lowest setting- on my oven it is 200 degrees.  Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until golden, stirring often.  This’ll take about 4-5 minutes.  Put them in a heatproof serving dish, and put this into the oven to keep warm.  Set the skillet aside until ready to cook the chicken.
3. First though remove the blackened skin from the chiles, remove the stems and seeds.  Rinse them under water to remove any remaining skin and seeds.  Cut them into 1/4 strips and add them to the onions in the oven.  Taste the mixture and season with salt if needed, it’ll probably be about 1 tsp.  Put the dish back in the oven.
4. Put the skillet back on the stove on medium heat.  Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil.  Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, and place the chicken in the hot pan.  Brown one side (about 5 minutes), turn over and cook the other side until done (about 4 minutes).  Add lime juice and garlic to the pan.  Turn the chicken in the mixture for 1-2 minutes until the lime juice has reduced to a glaze and the chicken is coated.
5. Cut the chicken in 1/4 inch strips and combine with the onions and peppers.  Taste and season if desired.
6. Serve with warm corn tortillas, salsa, guacamole and/or hot sauce.

Source: Mexican Everyday


Notes:

  • I used store-bought corn tortillas this time.  I’ve never made my own, and I’m a bit intimidated to be honest, but I’ll give them a try at some point.  To heat them, you can sandwich them between dampened paper towels or clean kitchen towels and microwave for about 45 seconds to a minute.  Rick Bayless suggests a different method which involves dribbling some water on a kitchen towel, wrapping the tortillas inside, slipping them inside a microwavable plastic bag, microwaving on high for 4 minutes at 50% power, and then letting them steam for 2-3 minutes, and I’m sure that works great, but I’m a bit more lazy than that.  
  • My chicken took quite a bit longer to cook than this recipe says.  It’s probably because my chicken breasts were larger than medium-large.  In any case, just make sure the chicken is actually cooked before adding the garlic-lime mixture. 
  • I blackened my poblanos under the broiler and I didn’t really feel it necessary to keep turning them.  I just did 5 minutes on one side, flipped them over, and broiled 5 minutes on the other side.
  • Bayless suggests either serving this with roasted tomatillo salsa or guacamole, but I decided to go crazy and make both.  It was an excellent combination with both the spiciness of the salsa, and the creaminess of the guacamole.  Don’t worry, those recipes will follow these notes!
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Makes 1 1/2 cups
Ingredients:
4 medium tomatillos (about 8 ounces total), husked, rinsed and halved
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
Hot green chiles to taste (i.e. 2 serranos or 1 jalapeno), stemmed and roughly chopped
About 1/3 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
Salt
Directions:
1. Set a large nonstick skillet, or foil-lined sticky skillet (what’s the opposite of nonstick?) over medium-high heat.  Place the tomatillos and garlic in the skillet, cut side down.  Cook about 3-4 minutes, until the tomatillos are brown, then flip and cook the other side about 3-4 minutes (flip the garlic too).  The tomatillos will be soft.
2.  Put the browned tomatillos and garlic in a blender or food processor.  Let them cool to room temperature, and then add the chiles, cilantro and a 1/4 cup of water.  Blend until coursely chopped, or to whatever consistancy you like (mine was a bit more on the finely chopped side).  Pour into a bowl for serving.  If it is too thick, you can add a little more water.
3.  Rinse the chopped onion under cold water.  Stir into the salsa.  Taste and season if necessary (about 1/2 tsp).    
Notes:
  • I used 2 serrano chiles in mine, and I thought the spiciness was just perfect.  It did tone down a little when paired with the tacos.
  • Bayless suggests that if the salsa is not going to be served immediately, to wait to add the cilantro until it is about to be served, as well as the onion.  If you are not adding the cilantro in at the blending stage, it should be finely chopped, rather than coursely.
  • My salsa had no issue with being to thick, in fact I was concerned that it was too watery at first, but once I added the onion and cilantro, it ended up being just perfect.

Guacamole
Makes about 3/4 of a cup

Ingredients:
1 medium ripe avocado
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
Salt
About 1 tablespoon lime juice
Directions
Cut the avocado in half, twist the halves apart, and remove the pit.  Scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon into a small-medium bowl.  Mash up the avocado.  I used a fork, but a potato masher would also work.  Add the garlic, salt and lime juice.  Taste and add more salt or lime juice as desired.

Notes:
  • I halved Bayless’s recipe and it was enough for the two of us (my boyfriend and I), especially because we paired it with the salsa as well, but you can certainly double the quantities and make a normal sized recipe.  If doubling it, 1 clove of garlic will still be enough, unless you like your guacamole extra garlicy.  Also the lime juice quantity may remain the same, depending on your personal taste.
  • Bayless has 3 versions of guacamole in his cookbook- simple, herby, or luxurious.  This adaptation is a combination of simple and herby.
Source: adapted from Mexican Everyday
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One thought on “Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos

  1. Pingback: Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole | I'll Have Seconds!

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