Crispy Chicken Tacos

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Crispy Chicken Tacos 

Have you ever been so hungry for something you see in a cookbook but you don't have all the exact ingredients listed in the recipe? That happened to me today. I am cooking through What Katie Ate on the Weekend this month with my friend, Deborah Balant and her online cookbook club, Rainy Day Bites. While I planned ahead for some things on the menu this week, today's meal was decided on the fly when I opened the book to Crispy Chicken Tacos and just had to make them.

I quickly perused the recipe and noted that I had most of the staple ingredients - which gave me confidence to wing this recipe, in spite of the fact I couldn't follow it exactly. The result was delicious and rewarding, a perfect example of improvisation. Because how many of you know, life doesn't always work out the way we expect and sometimes we need a little improv to help us along the way?

So here is the amazing recipe by Katie Quinn Davies, which I will follow exactly next time because I kept imagining how perfect it would taste with crispy fried chicken instead of ground chicken (which is what was in my refrigerator, and I couldn't justify making a trip to the grocery to get a different kind).

Crispy Chicken Tacos

1 pound free-range skinless boneless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 - 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
sea salt
2 ears sweetcorn, husks and silk removed
1 long green chile, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Rice bran oil, for deep frying
8 corn tortillas
lime juice, hot sauce or chipotle sauce, and cilantro, to serve

Creamy Slaw

1 free-range egg yolk
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
sea salt
7 tablespoons canola oil (I used olive oil)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I used spicy, brown mustard)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (I used regular vinegar)
2 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
2 1/4 cups very finely sliced red cabbage (I didn't have any, so only used white cabbage)
2 1/4 cups very finely sliced white cabbage
1 carrot, peeled and finely grated (I omitted this)

Place the chicken thighs in a glass bowl (or ziplock bag) and add the buttermilk, Tabasco and a good pinch of salt. Seal or cover with saran wrap to marinate and put in the refrigerator for 1 - 2 hours. (I didn't have chicken thighs so I fried up 1 pound of ground chicken and seasoned it with salt and 2 teaspoons hot sauce. Worked perfectly.)

Meanwhile, for the slaw, place the egg yolk, 4 teaspoons lemon juice and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process on high speed, adding the oil in a thin, steady stream until the mixture is thick and glossy. Add the mustard, vinegar and sour cream and process again to incorporate. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.

Cook the ears of corn in a saucepan of boiling water for 3 - 5 minutes, then lift out with tongs, shake off excess water and place each ear directly on a gas burner or under a broiler for 1 - 2  minutes, turning often, to lightly blacken the kernels. (I don't have a gas range so I seared the corn in a cast iron skillet for several minutes.) Leave to cool slightly, then stand the ears on one end on a board and, using a sharp knife, carefully slice off all the kernels. Place in a bowl, add the chile and stir to combine. (I didn't have a chile pepper so I cooked a cup of rice per package directions, and when it was done cooking, I added the juice of two limes, a handful of cilantro, salt and pepper, and the cut corn. Delicious!)

Combine the flours in a bowl. Remove the chicken from the marinade, shake off any excess and dredge in the flour. Quarter-fill a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan with oil. Heat over high heat until the temperature reaches 350 degrees F, then reduce the heat to medium-high. Working in batches of about eight pieces at a time, fry the chicken for 4 minutes, turning once or twice until golden brown, crispy and cooked through. Drain on paper towel, patting off excess oil, then transfer to a plate, season with sea salt and cover with foil.

To finish making the slaw, toss the cabbage and grated carrot together in a bowl, then add half the dressing and the remaining lemon juice and toss to combine.

To serve, add some slaw and corn in the middle of a warm tortilla and top with crispy chicken. Add a squeeze of lime juice and a splash or two of sauce, then drizzle over a little of the remaining slaw dressing. Finish with a scattering of cilantro.

1 comment:

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