Chicken Tacos

Chicken Tacos

Last Week’s Leftover Chicken becomes this Mexican Marvel

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Last week we cooked two whole chickens on the green egg. Unless you have an army at your house, you are going to have some leftovers. What to do with them? Make a stew? Make a fried rice? Put it in a ziploc bag, freeze it, only to break it out years later when it’s well past it’s prime, like Sylvester Stallone in Demolition Man? Why not stuff it in between two yummy tortillas and top it with onions and cilantro?

With a lot of recipes, I firmly believe that less is more, and that never holds truer than with tacos. I don’t get excited about about fancy sauces and weird toppings. I am not a huge fan of the “southern taco” craze, taken Atlanta and other cities by storm, that generously stuffs tacos with pulled pork and coleslaw. Congrats! You’ve made a barbeque sandwich into a taco!  Give me a good quality tortilla, well cooked meat, with onions, cilantro and lime. Tortillas are often a second thought. Eager beavers barrel through grocery stores with Bobby Flay’s chipotle sour cream recipe on their smartphone screen, while reaching for the first garbage pack of tortillas within arm’s length. Their priorities are seriously out of whack.

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Super Mercado Jalisco #6
10390 Alpharetta St, Roswell, GA

This is Super Mercado Jalisco #6, one of the many Carnicerias here on Roswell Rd, in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. It’s full of various dried chili peppers, pig’s feet and heads, soda brands you’ve never seen, televisions playing soccer games, and fresh produce. But we’re here for the tortillas.

 

 

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El Milagro Corn Tortillas

El Milagro is a tortilla making company based in Doraville, GA, right outside of Atlanta. Check them out here.  I support local companies whenever I get the chance. Here I opted for the white corn tortillas, but if you pefer flour, knock yourself out.

 

 
Now it’s time to pull the rest of the ingredients together. At the store the other day I bought cilantro and onions but forgot the lime. I substituted a vinaigrette I made the day before to go with grilled salmon. It was delicious! The vinaigrette lent a “subtle complexity” to the tacos without becoming too busy with many flavors. It added flavors of mustard, honey, shallots, garlic, etc. It was like adding turbo charged citrus to the tacos. So, the next day I remade a Latin inspired version for this blog post. The function of the vinaigrette is a sauce, so I need it thick, like the consistency of heavy cream. To get this I need a blender to form the emulsion. See my previous post on emulsions and mayonnaise here.

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Citrus Jalapeno Vinaigrette

Citrus Jalapeno Vinaigrette

Juice of 1 whole lime
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon (combined citrus should come out to 1/4 cup)
1 tbsp of creole mustard
1 tbsp of honey
1 shallot bulb, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large jalapeno, deseeded, deribbed and minced (if you like it hot, leave the ribs and seeds)
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

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Squeeze bottle for easy sauce distribution

Combine the citrus, mustard, honey, shallot, garlic and jalapeno in a blender. Turn on medium high and slowly begin to pour the canola oil in from the top. Once the mixture gets thick, you can begin to pour in a more steady stream. Season with salt and pepper. If you don’t want to make your own, no problem, buy a favorite brand from the store. I am ashamed to say that myself and Guy Fieri share the same passion for squeeze bottles. It allows me to control precisely how much sauce comes out and it’s easy to make all those really cool squiggly lines on plates.

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Red onions soaking in cold water

Want to know how to make those spicy raw onions easy to eat? Soak them in ice water. The longer the better. I soaked mine for an hour and a half here. The intense cold mellows out those pungent sulfur compounds. Those same compounds make us cry when we’re chopping into an onion. These exist as a defense mechanism, protecting onions from becoming a snack for some animal.

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Chicken Tacos with Citrus Jalapeno Vinaigrette

Finally the assembly. Place a good portion of the leftover chicken in the center of each tortilla. Do the really cool squiggly lines with the vinaigrette in the squeeze bottle…or not. Top with the onions and cilantro. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Chicken Tacos with Citrus Jalapeno Vinaigrette 

2 cups leftover roasted chicken
1 lime, juiced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp creole mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 shallot bulb, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large jalapeno, deseeded, deribbed and minced
1/2 cup canola oil
1 red onion, diced and soaked in ice water
1 cup chopped cilantro
Four or Corn Tortillas

For the sauce:
Combine the citrus juice, mustard, honey, shallot, garlic and jalapeno in a blender. Turn on medium high and slowly begin to pour the canola oil in from the top. Once the mixture gets thick, you can begin to pour in a more steady stream. Season with salt and pepper.

Assembly:
Place the chicken inside the tortilla. Top with the sauce, onion and cilantro. Serve!

 

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