Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Transformer Meal: Pulled Chicken Tacos

Yesterday, I rolled out the idea of Transformer Recipes- basically the idea of a single protein that can be changed and morphed into new and creative dishes over several days to keep hunger satisfied and eaters interested.  I started with pulled chicken- an easy, fun form of chicken that everyone can have a good time with.  Once the chicken is poached and pulled, I made an easy Italian casserole using farm fresh eggplant and tomatoes in a delicious sauce.  Hearty and filling- it was perfect for a rainy Sunday night.

The next evening however, I wanted something completely different, but was thrilled to have a healthy protein all set to go.  I decided to morph the chicken into something entirely different- pulled chicken tacos!  Now, to be honest- I've been eating tons of tacos lately as I was sent some samples of Maria and Ricardo's Tortilla Factory Tortillas to test out.  I was sent the corn tortillas (my favorite) and some large wheat tortillas- I have to be honest- I haven't even broken into the wheat yet- I have been LOVING the corn!  They have that wonderfully authentic light corn taste, with great texture.  Every taco I've made I've felt has been just a little bit more authentic thanks to these great tortillas!  

I digress however, and going back to the pulled chicken tacos, these little guys were so fast and easy!  They were great for a week night dinner!  I started by pre heating my oven to 350 degrees and wrapping two corn tortillas in tin foil, and then popping them into the oven to heat up- they only take about 5 minutes or so.  While they were heating, I started a saute pan over medium heat, and added a teaspoon of vegetable oil, and then chopped onion and garlic to the pan with a little salt.  When they started to turn translucent- I added a handful of sliced mushrooms.  Once these were nicely cooked- so they had that browning on both sides, I spooned in a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half of salsa, careful to drain a way a lot of the water, and then sprinkled in a little smoked paprika, and cinnamon.  I also added half of a small red bell pepper sliced thin.  When this had formed into an aromatic smelling sauce, I added a handful or two of the left over pulled chicken, and stirred it into the sauce.  The great thing here is that the chicken only needed to heat up, not fully cook.  When it was hot, I sprinkled some grated cheese over the top, and allowed it to melt.

I removed tortilla from its tinfoil envelope, spread it with a thin layer of cilantro bean dip that I had whipped together a few days earlier, and then piled in the chicken mixture, and topped it with some fresh chopped Romain lettuce from Wilson Farms. I did the same with the second tortilla. 

The end result was a delicious taco.  Great flavor from the onion and the mild salsa mixed with the smoky paprika and the cinnamon- it all combined to a delicious, round flavored sauce, perfect to showcase the pulled chicken.  The bean spread added a great creamy flavor to the taco, perfectly taking the place of higher fat sour cream or other additions.

The best part about this meal was that it only took about 15 minutes to prepare, perfect for a busy week night, and it was 100% different from the Italian style meal the night before.  The complete reversal of flavors completely annihilated the idea that what I was eating was leftovers, and any boredom that those may bring was depleted with it.  And, of course, it was delicious.    


MichellePC said...

This looks delicious, and I love how you made a completely different meal with the leftover chicken! I get bored with leftovers real fast, so I am always trying new recipes with leftover ingredients.

Boston Food Diary said...

Thanks Michelle! I have one more Transformer Recipe to post using the same pulled chicken- which I think that you will enjoy!

People definitely get sick of leftovers- so it's nice to have a store of recipes to completely change them :-)

Restaurant Reviews: A dead art?

Last December I declared 2023 the year I would return to food writing.  It was a bold statement (even now as I look at my last published dat...