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Monday, April 4, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Brother's Chicken Tacos

Have I talked about fried food before? Did you know before I went to college, the only fried food I'd eaten at home was our family's secret recipe for french toast (yup, deep fried deliciousness.) I'm sure when we went out to eat, the french fries were fried, but we didn't eat fast food really. Oh, but crisp meat burritos and crisp bean burritos from Taco Time, those were a yummy treat we rarely got to enjoy, but boy did we enjoy them when we had them. Maybe it is an Oregon thing? But fried food, just not a regular item on our menu. And to this day, I don't really eat fried food. Family french toast can only be consumed at the most, 3-4 times a year (for the sake of my waste line). Taco Time crisp burritos... maybe once a year. I made home-cut french fries last night, they were baked though. No oil involved.

I had my first real fried chicken my freshman year of college. Another item I'd heard about from others was the taco served by Jack in the Box. So while visiting family in CA, I had my first tacos from Jack in the Box. Have you had chance to try them? Deep fried tacos. They are actually pretty good. Seeing this post by Pioneer Woman made me think of the tacos from Jack in the Box, so tonight, in honor of the NCAA National Championship basketball game (since championship games call for unhealthy food) we made the tacos. Oh, and they were good. Here's the recipe with my additional recommendations.

My (well, Pioneer Woman's) Brother's Chicken Tacos

Corn Tortillas
4 chicken breasts (I only used 2)
Salt, cumin, chili powder or taco seasoning to season chicken (I used taco seasoning)
2 T Canola Oil + more for frying the tacos
2 - 4 oz cans diced green chilies (I used one since only cooking 2 chicken breasts)
1 1/2 c grated cheese (I used pepper jack)
Sour Cream
Hot Sauce
2 c thinly sliced lettuce (I prefer cabbage for tacos and used 1 c)
4 Roma tomatoes, diced (I used one regular hot house tomato)
Green Onions

She recommends preparing the chicken as such: Cut raw chicken into small pieces. Season the chicken liberally. Heat 2 T canola oil in skillet. Add chicken. Cook for a couple minutes. Add the chilies and continue cooking until the chicken is done. Set aside.
I boiled my chicken, then shredded it. I put the chicken, chilies and 2 T taco seasoning into a bowl and mixed. I put the mixture in the fridge overnight. I then microwaved it for two minutes before using.
Dice/cut the rest of your ingredients and have them ready for assembly.

The frying:
Have a plate with a bunch of paper towels on it next to your frying pan. I also warmed the tortillas before using. They were brand new, nice and fresh and soft, but I still had some tear, so warming them helped. Microwave for 20 seconds five at a time in a wet paper towel.
Put a couple spoons of the chicken mixture in the middle of the taco. fold the taco over, and using a pair of heat resistant tongs, carefully lay the taco into warm oil.

Now she says to set the burner at medium high and to cook each taco for 30-45 seconds on each side until the taco becomes a golden brown.

I had my gas burner on medium low (between 3 & 4) and I cooked them for 10 seconds per side and that was plenty for me - definitely golden brown when done. Tip: Don't drip the oil off into the pan. The juices from the chicken and chilies will drip into your oil - hot oil + water = no good!)

A blurry picture, but still - see all that smoke and steam?
When my cousin tried to take the photo,
the red eye reducing red light gave both of us the impression
that the taco was on fire.
It looked like there was a flame in the pan.
But this smoky pan now has juicy chicken and chilies
dancing in the hot oil.
Do not repeat this error in your home.
Open all the windows if you do.

Allow the taco to drip onto the paper towels. Turn the taco sideways so the oil comes out of the inside of the taco.

Take your taco to the assembly line. Slightly open the taco and layer on the cheese first (so it melts), lettuce or cabbage, tomatoes, onions, avocado, sour cream -and whatever else you want to add.

Here is our assembly line

This is an eat as you make it item. Good for a standing meal or a social meal where you are on your feet a lot. (Not being a big fan of fried food, I am especially not a fan of cold fried food.) We each assembled our own taco, so that helps too. One person can fry and then the rest (those old enough) can pick up a hot taco and fill 'er up. Once you finish your taco, you can join the line for another fresh one.

Enjoy! (but only on rare occasion, for the sake of your waste line - wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

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