September 14, 2008

Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos

So, I am back to recipe stalking my friend Claire. She had this dish a few nights ago, and said that she really liked it. Although, her husband claimed it was a bit too spicy. HA! I laugh in the face of spicy...I scoff at spicy....I revel in spicy! Double HA! What I am trying to say, is that we like really spicy food. It is originally from my new favorite cookbook/chef Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless. I think I have sufficiently covered my Rick Bayless fanaticism in the we will move on.

I scored some fresh, still-warm-when-I-bought-'em, corn tortillas today. They will be perfect with this meal. I am contemplating eating one right now, straight out of the bag...but I am trying to practice a little restraint.
The above-mentioned Claire and I took a trip into the ghetto this afternoon to go to the local, Mexican grocery store. I think we were a little over confident, because it was somewhat scary. It was like taking a trip south of the border. I expected to see Federales standing by the meat counter. This place made Walmart seem like a Macy's.
Speaking of the meat counter...there was a certain odor that smelled a little too native for my liking, and there was a whole cows' head on display...sans fur. It was not too far down from the pork chorizo I purchased in the meat case. Let me tell you, it was like a train wreck...I could not stop staring at it! Yup, a whole cows head...with eyes, and teeth and everything. That was almost a little too close to the food chain for us. I thought pregnant Claire was gonna lose it. As a prissy American, I prefer to think of my meat wrapped in foam trays and cellophane; not with teeth and eyelashes. Anyway, other hijinx ensued. There was a definite language barrier, as was evident when I tried to purchase fresh cheese. I tried to brush up on my conversational Spanish before our trip, but it was not enough. I got my cheese and I think I may have insulted the cheese ladies' mother in the process. To be fair, there were some really good deals, and they had a lot of Hispanic specialty items that I would not be able to find anywhere else (well, duh). But, seriously, I thought the Border Patrol was going to check our papers as we left the market.

Needless to say, I was so impacted by my cultural experience today, I decided to celebrate my life lessons in diversity with some tacos for dinner! Ole`!

Green Chile Chicken Soft Tacos

2 large fresh poblano chilies
2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil (divided use)
1 large white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
Ground black pepper
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed thru a garlic press
12 warm corn tortilla, store bought or homemade
3/4 cup roasted tomatillo salsa, guacamole, or bottled salsa or hot sauce, for serving.


Roast the poblanos over an open flame or 4 inches below a broiler, turning regularly until blistered and blackened all over, about 5 minutes for an open flame, 10 minutes for the broiler. Place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let cool until you can handle them.

Turn on (or adjust) the oven to its lowest setting. Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a very large skillet over medium high. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden but still crunchy, 4-5 minutes. Scoot into a heatproof serving bowl, leaving as much oil as possible in the skillet, and slide it into the oven. Set the skillet aside.

Rub the blackened skin off the chiles and pull out the stems and seed pods. Rinse the chiles to remove bits of skin and seeds. Cut into 1/4-inch strips and stir into the onions. Taste and season with salt, usually a generous teaspoon. Return the bowl to the oven.

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.

Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil. When the oil is hot, lay in the chicken breasts. Brown on one side, about 5 minutes, then flip and finish cooking on the other side, about 4 minutes more. When the meat is done, add the lime juice and garlic to the skillet. Turn the chicken in the lime mixture for a minute or so, until the juice has reduced to a glaze and coats the chicken.

Cut the chicken breasts into 1/4-inch strips and toss with the onion-poblano mixture. Taste and season with additional salt if you think necessary. Serve with the warm tortillas and salsa, guacamole, or hot sauce for making soft tacos.

Jen's Notes:
I think there is one thing that needs to be clarified with this recipe, which has to do with removing the skins on the peppers. I took a Mexican cooking class a while back, and they taught me how to do it a bit differently. I roast mine over the open gas flame on my stove (as indicated). However, instead of covering with a towel, I learned that you place the roasted peppers in a glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. This allows the residual steam and heat condensation to loosen the pepper skin, making it much easier to peel. After you let them sit for about 15-20 minutes, the skin will just rub off with your fingers (or a paper towel) and they will not be too hot to handle. It is important to not rinse with water or rub all the black char off, since it lends flavor to your dish.
Claire mentioned having trouble with the chiles, and I blame the above instructions. I think the directions written in this recipe, for this method, is certainly not the easiest way peel these chiles. What can I say...Rick Bayless is not perfect...but his flaw only makes me love him even more.

1 comment:

claireknightly said...

I read the part about Ranch Market out loud to John, and we were both dying laughing. I'm still chuckling thinking about what you wrote.