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A while ago, I learned about this wonderful game on the android market called “Alchemy”. The premise of the game was to start with the very basic elements (earth, air, fire, water) and to combine them to create things. For instance, water plus air gives you a rain cloud. And a rain cloud plus earth gives you a plant. Earth plus earth gives you PSI. When you combine the plant plus PSI you come up with coal. It goes on like that, so on and so forth until you’ve created all of the “elements”. 

Cooking is a bit like that. You start out at the basics, learning to chop things up, then how to cook them. And eventually you learn more complicated things. Well a little while ago, I made beef tacos. We had stew meat on hand that needed using, some guacamole, even tortillas and cheese. That was probably one of the most delicious meals I’d made to date. It was fairly simple, quick and full of flavour. Sometime down the road, I was at a loss as to what to make when my friend suggested I make lime chicken. Except, I took his idea and made what I’ve dubbed since as “3 recipe chicken”. It called for some lime from lime chicken, garlic from garlic lime chicken, and tequila from tequila lime chicken. It was a bit dry, but the pan I had used was too big and my deglazing agent was alcohol.

Anyway, some time has passed since I’ve made those meals and I was trying to think of what I could make on Tuesday when it occurred to me that we had all of the things for lime chicken tacos. I had been wanting to revisit tequila lime chicken for a while, because every time I think about it, making the chicken with pasta wasn’t my best idea. Serving lime chicken in tacos, however, that was pretty brilliant if I may say so myself.

I started by grabbing everything I would need.

Just some ingredients-
Back, left to right: 1 whole lime, some Mexican blend cheese, 1 whole onion
Front: Mission mini corn tortillas & 1.5 pounds of fresh chicken tenders

Next, I chopped up the onion and put it into the pan to cook. Half moons will do perfectly, unless you don’t like large chunks of onion, then feel free to dice it up.

After ten minutes in the pan over medium heat the onion should look like this:

At that point, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep the onion in the pan while the chicken cooked, so I put it into a bowl and put a lid on them. With that out of the way and chicken in the pan, I did some dishes… and nearly forgot to turn the chicken.

I was feeling daring, and thus decided to add half of the lime to the chicken while it cooked instead of adding it at the end. I ended up finding where all of my cuts on my hands were, and it was just a wonderful experience. Seriously, if you’ve never gotten lemon or lime juice in a paper cut before, go squeeze a lime over chicken while it cooks. You can thank me for the experience and the good food later.

But I digress- because there was so much chicken, I split the chicken into two batches while I was cooking it. This time, I made sure to get a picture of the chicken in the pan before turning it.

After letting it cook for three minutes, I turned the chicken.

I squeezed the other half of the lime over the chicken while it cooked and this is what a demolished, juiced lime looks like.

As the chicken had finished cooking, I stirred in water and some goya seasoning to deglaze the pan while I shredded the chicken.

Once the chicken was shredded, I transferred it back to the pan with the onions.

The next thing I did was get another deep bottom skillet out of the cupboard and put enough oil in it to coat the bottom. This would be to fry up the tortillas.

While the oil warmed, I checked on the chicken. Even after just ten minutes of being back in the pan, it smelled divine.

Although it had been a while since I’d cooked tortillas this way, it came naturally. I would place a tortilla into the heated oil, watch it, flip it, fold it, and then set it on a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Step 1: getting the tortilla into the pan-
When putting the tortilla in the pan, you don’t want to just plop it into the oil, that causes oil splatter and you can burn yourself as well as make more work cleaning up the mess later.

Steps 2 & 3: flipping and folding the tortilla-
After the tortilla cooks for 2 minutes, you want to flip it and allow it to cook for another two minutes. Then carefully fold it in half and cook until the shape holds. Finally, set it aside.

With all of the tortillas cooked, I now checked on the chicken. Twenty minutes had passed since I had put it back in the pan and I hoped while I had been cooking the tortillas it wouldn’t dry out. Quite the opposite had happened. The chicken had sucked up most of the juice from the pan and looked tender. When I popped a piece in my mouth to see how it tasted, it was delicious.

With the chicken cooked and the tortillas drying out, I set the chicken into a bowl and placed everything picnic style on the coffee table in the living room.

According to Josh, it was really good. I had put the extra lime out to supplement the tacos, but it was completely unnecessary. The chicken had a complex flavour. Paired with the tortillas and cheese, it was perfect. The lime was fully present, yet not overwhelming, instead brightening the other flavours. It was tangy, yet savoury. If that makes sense. If anything, I would have liked to have used tequila while cooking it, but there wasn’t any on hand and that’s fine. The juice ran down my arm with each bite into the tacos, each bite better than the one prior. Of course, I had cooked too much and there were leftovers, but that’s fine. We had the ability to put them away and I’m sure like most other dishes, the chicken was even better after having sat in the juice overnight.

~Recipe: Lime Chicken Tacos~

Whether it’s a lazy afternoon with people close to you, or you make a party out of it, these build your own chicken tacos are perfectly customizable and a blast to make as well as eat. 

Serves 4

Ingredients:  

  • Oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped into half moons, or diced
  • 1.5 pounds of chicken tenders
  • 1 limes
  • 1 cup of water (to deglaze the pan)
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 1 cup Mexican blend cheese
  • Salsa, Hot Sauce, Guacamole, Lettuce, Died Tomatoes, other assorted taco toppings of your preference

Special Tools:

  • 2 deep bottomed skillets
  • A splatter shield (if you have it)

Method:

  1. In a medium deep bottom skillet over medium heat, warm oil until shimmering. Add onions and cook 10 minutes until they’re looking kind of worm-y. Transfer them to a bowl and set aside.
  2. In that same skillet, cook the chicken, being careful not to crowd the pan. If you need to, divide the chicken into two batches.
  3. Roll a lime between your palms to get the juices flowing, cut into it and squeeze it over the chicken while it cooks.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a plate as it finishes cooking and when the pan is empty, pour in one cup of water to deglaze it. Be sure to scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon.
  5. When chicken has cooled to the touch, shred it with two forks and transfer it and the onions back to the pan. Allow to warm over medium-low heat, covered.
  6. In another deep bottom pan, pour in oil until it coats the bottom of the pan and warm until shimmering.
  7. Carefully add the tortilla and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Flip it carefully using either kitchen tongs or a spatula. Allow to cook another 1-2 minutes.
  9. Carefully fold the tortilla and cook the bottom edge for 2 minutes, then flip it and cook the other side another 2 minutes.
  10. Set the tortilla on a paper towel lined plate.
  11. Repeat steps 7-10, adding more oil to the pan as necessary until all of the tortillas are cooked.
  12. Remove chicken from heat and place in a bowl, serving the plate of tortillas and other chosen taco seasonings as well.
  13. Enjoy!

Xx Steffanni

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