Last weekend I got together with some friends and made an amazing Mexican meal. We made our own soft corn tortillas with various salsa toppings, and this awesome chicken filling. We also had some homemade refried beans and a nice light jicama salad. And of course some beer – Negro Modelo is my favourite Mexican beer because it is a little darker than most.
This is another Rick Bayless recipe, from his Mexican Everyday cookbook. So far every recipe of his that I’ve tried has been so delicious, and the meals I had at his restaurant Xoco in Chicago were out of this world.
You can buy the tortillas if you don’t want to make them; just warm them up before serving. The homemade ones were the best, but a lot of work. If you get everyone involved and have a bit of an assembly line going it could be fun (well, I think so, but other people seemed to disagree that this this might be an option for next time).
This recipe serves about 4 people.
I like for people to be able to dress up their tacos to their liking, so it’s great to have a variety of toppings. Here’s a list of possibilities (you don’t have to do them all!); I would choose at least two salsas and a few other items.
- roasted tomatillo salsa
- x’nipek – red onion salsa
- your favourite bottled salsa/hot sauce
- tomatillo salsa
- guajillo chile salsa
- salsa fresca
- guacamolata – avocado sauce
- strips of nopal cactus
- sour cream or plain yogurt
- Mexican cheese
- lime wedges for squeezing
What you need for the chicken filling:
- 2 large poblano peppers
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 1 large white onion, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- about 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- jalapeno or other hot pepper slices
What you do:
- Roast the poblano peppers over a gas stove or a barbecue, turning often with tongs. The skin should become all black. Place the peppers in a sealable container and leave for about 15 minutes to cool and let the skins soften.
- Turn your oven on very low.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until they are golden but still have a bit of crunch to them. Place these in a heatproof container and put in the oven to keep warm.
- Rub most of the blackened skin off the peppers and remove the stem and seeds. Cut into 1/4 inch strips and add to the onions. Season with salt and return to the oven.
- Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place the skillet on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Lay the chicken in the pan when the oil is hot. Brown on one side for about 5 minutes, then the other for about 4 minutes. When the meat has cooked add the lime juice and garlic to the skillet. Cook for about a minute, turning the chicken to coat in the lime juice, until the lime had formed a glaze over the chicken. (We didn’t cook the chicken all the way through in the pan – we added the garlic and lime and let it glaze the chicken, and we threw the chicken on the grill before slicing it – this gave it that nice smoky flavour).
- Cut the chicken into 1/4 inch strips and toss with the onions and poblano peppers. Taste and see if you need to add more salt.
- Serve in fresh warm tortillas with a choice toppings.