Friday, December 30, 2011

Chicken and Black Bean Crispy Tacos

Here's an idea for a New Year's party: offer a taco bar where guests assemble pretty ingredients to their hearts' desire.

To make these tacos, I began by sauteing cubed chicken thighs in a large skillet coated with hot olive oil.

Wait a minute.  How many recipes have I started with, "Saute chicken in large skillet coated with hot olive oil..."? 

Oh, let's see.  There's this oneThis one.  And even this one.  And many, many more.

I'm so original I absolutely shock myself.

So...

Saute chicken in large skillet coated with hot olive oil.

Resist the urge to stir the chicken right away.  
Let it sizzle and get nice and brown on one side before flipping. 
Season with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chile powder,
crushed red pepper flakes, and cayenne (or a package of your favorite taco seasonings).

If you dig the sensation that your esophagus is igniting, this would be a good time to add some sliced jalapenos or other spicy ingredients.

When the chicken has browned on both sides for about 4-5 minutes over medium high heat, transfer it to a serving bowl and keep it warm.

Next, heat the taco shells in the oven according to the package directions.  
I used blue corn taco shells because I am in love with blue corn these days.  

Then, set out bowls of the other ingredients:
I bucked tradition and went with spinach instead of lettuce.

Some black beans,

Sliced ripe tomatoes,

And of course grated cheese 
(with the ever-present two-year-old's hand taking a snitch).

Fresh.  Simple.  Pretty. 
(Set the assembled tacos under the broiler for a moment to melt the cheese if desired.)

(It's also delicious to crush it all up, add extra spinach, and make a taco salad.)


So, how was your Christmas?  Was your day joyful and peaceful, or....not?  How about your Christmas dinner?  I have to tattle on myself and tell you that I spent almost 7 hours in the kitchen on Christmas Day making the absolute WORST meal ever. Folks were crying and wailing and flailing and begging for a bowl of cereal or just ANYTHING besides what I served.  I tried to be too gourmet, and my poor family was banging their heads on the table and excusing themselves to go gag and wretch outside in the bushes, and then standing in the street and pleading for the neighbors to share their normal Christmas dinner menu items like green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, turkey or ham, etc.    It was such a heart-warming and memorable experience!   Next year, my loves, I PROMISE!!!  We'll have a normal Christmas dinner.  In fact, as my Christmas-dinner-confidence has been completely shattered, I'll probably order everything straight from the HoneyBaked Ham company.



Here's the printable recipe.

Chicken and Black Bean Crispy Tacos
Serves 4*

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

8-10 taco shells

Optional Taco Toppings:
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
Sour cream, if desired

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and allow it to brown one one side before turning it.  After 2-3 minutes, turn chicken and allow to brown on other side.  Cook an additional 2-3 minutes, cutting into the largest piece of chicken to ensure it is cooked through.  Add taco seasonings and stir well; taste and add the desired amount of salt and pepper.  Stir chicken and spices well and then remove skillet from heat.  Transfer chicken to a serving bowl and keep warm.

Heat the taco shells in oven according to package directions.  

Set out the chicken, tacos, and toppings in individual serving dishes.

Place assembled tacos under the broiler for 1 minute to melt cheese, if desired.  



*The serving size of 4 is rather ambiguous.  It depends how full folks stuff their tacos and/or what combination of toppings they select.

3 comments:

Caneel said...

Mmmmm ... Happy New Year, my friend. I love you! XO

Rita said...

These have to be the prettiest crackers I have ever seen.
Wishing you all the best for 2012.
Rita

Caneel said...

Ohhhh, lol!!! I just read the part about about Christmas dinner!!