Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Chicken Tacos with a Veggie Slaw

After two weeks of not cooking, attributed to a week where I couldn't eat thanks to Strep Throat, and a week of checking out some restaurants around town, I was incredibly excited to try my hand at a new dish last Friday night. I had gotten this idea to make chicken tacos for a luncheon at work, but since I didn't want to infect my co-workers, I chose to postpone their inaugural run. So Friday night- I set to work.

I picked up a couple of chicken breasts at the store along with a shredded broccoli and carrot mixture, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cucumber, cheese, small sized wheat wraps, cilantro and Serrano peppers. Then I made one more stop, and picked up a six pack of Dos Equis beer.

Back at home, I combined a small amount of butter (to create a richer background), a little salt, a whole Serrano pepper (seeds and all), some chopped red onion and bunches of cilantro in a pan over medium/low heat. I let these meld their flavors together for a short time, and then I added two bottles of the Dos Equis to the mix. I have to say-I'm really loving cooking with beer! The flavor really concentrates and you can smell all of the great flavor in it. Once that had sufficiently reduced so that the alcohol was out, I added the chicken breasts to the pan to let them cook in the mixture. I turned them every 10 minutes or so.

In the meantime- I set to work on the slaw I wanted to have over the top- easy enough. I combined a couple of handfuls of the broccoli/carrot mixture with thinly sliced cucumbers, tomato, avocado, red onion, lime juice, 3/4 of a Serrano pepper (seeds removed this time), and a bit of salt. Then I made a dressing for this of a little mayo, about twice the amount of Dijon mustard, more lime juice, and a tiny shot of champagne vinegar. I tossed the veggies into this dressing and the dinner was almost complete.

Once I felt that the chicken was cooked, I removed it from the liquid, and shredded it using two forks in a big bowl. Then I assembled the tacos- a little cheese on the bottom of the wheat wrap, a layer of the shredded chicken, and then a healthy dose of the veggie slaw over the top. These were some incredibly filling tacos! They had really nice flavor from the beer, good heat from the slaw, which also added a nice light yet creamy flavor, and the necessary crunch of veggies to the meal. I really enjoyed the different textures and flavors that all of the different kinds of vegetables added to the dish. The tomatoes were nice and soft, the avocados backed up the cream of the sauce, the carrots and broccoli were the sturdy backbone, and the onions and cucumber added some great texture and flavor. The cheese was a good addition, but got a little lost under every thing else. I also, again, in my panic over chicken germs, over cooked the chicken. Id rather be safe than sorry- but in the future Ill need to be more careful then that. Ill definitely make these again- the chicken had such a nice flavor to it!!

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