Thursday, July 15, 2010

Braised chicken with Mexican spices


So, I often go on taco kicks - I'll slow cook a pork shoulder, and we'll have enough to freeze half and still have tacos for days, or sometimes I'll braise a big pack of chicken thighs.   I also make lots of versions of fish tacos, which I just posted about recently here, or an earlier post for roasting a whole red snapper for tacos here.  The other weekend, we bought a large pack of chicken thighs and cooked a pound of pinto beans and made plenty of chicken and beans for tacos, tortas, and chilaquiles.

This recipe is for a larger pack of chicken thighs, about 4-5 lbs. or about 8 thighs, but could be easily halved for a single 4 thigh pack, about 2 lbs.  You can also make a large batch, and after shredding the chicken, you can freeze a portion.  I also often make a whole bag of beans and freeze half for another time.



Braised chicken with Mexican spices
Season each thigh with 2 Tbsp. salt and pepper on each side.  In a large dutch oven or heavy pot, heat up a good drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add chicken thighs skin side down, without crowding the pot, and sear for a few minutes until nicely browned.  Flip thighs and brown for a few more minutes.  Remove chicken thighs and set aside and repeat with the remaining chicken, and remove after browning.  Add diced onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes.  Add spices and the other 1 Tbsp. salt and saute for a minute until fragrant.  Add tomatoes and hot sauce and stir well.  Add chicken pieces back to pot, nestling them into the tomato mixture.  Cover and reduce heat to medium and cook until chicken is cooked through and tender, about 25-30 minutes.

Remove thighs and when they are cool enough to handle, discard skin and shred the chicken.  Put a few spoons of the tomato mixture and mix together, adding more tomato mixture until your desired level of sauciness.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Serve with tortillas, salsa verde, pickled red onions, chopped cilantro, and a serving of beans if you like.  I used store-bought corn tortillas here, but if you want to try making your own, try my recipe here.

Reserve the remaining tomato mixture to add to a pot of beans when they are close to done if you like or reserve for another use.  Sometimes, I just add a little chicken broth, add some of the shredded chicken back, some beans, maybe some frozen corn kernels if I have any, and turn it into a soup and serve it with lime wedges and some chopped avocado, cilantro, and onion.

You can also use the chicken for tortas, or Mexican-style sandwiches, by adding some avocado, cilantro, onions, beans, and a little salsa.  You can add a little shredded lettuce and tomato, and even a little mayo and cheese if you like.

My last serving suggestion is to cook some beans and the chicken in a skillet, add a little salsa, some sliced up tortillas or tortilla chips, simmer for a few minutes, and then make a few wells and crack a few eggs in, cover and cook until the eggs have just set - chilaquiles!

6 comments:

  1. Oh, love this list of spices:) Will want to try it with fish tacos for me (I do not eat meat) and the pork or chicken for my boys. Wonderful recipe!

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  2. P.S.just noticed you have a facebook page. Just like it, and added you to our pages favorites:) It is my personal FB so I am Alisha there:)

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  3. Thanks Alisha! And let me know how you like the fish or chicken tacos!

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  4. I love your recipe, sounds delish! Great spices too.

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  5. Great recipe! I used chicken drumsticks, but otherwise followed precisely. Thanks for sharing!

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