Tacos are one of my favorite foods and I’m always looking for different combinations to try out! This recipe combines tender, shredded chicken with a smokey Chipotle salsa and melty Oaxaca cheese. I roasted the chicken in the oven with fragrant spices, garlic and honey. The nice thing about roasting the chicken is that it produces plenty of juice in the pan to incorporate back into the meat once it has been shredded. This results in the juiciest, most tender meat for the tacos. The Oaxaca cheese melted easily over the tacos and had a mild flavor that complimented the other ingredients. The salsa can be made up to two days beforehand to save time on preparation.
The thing that makes this salsa unique is the charring of the vegetables before blending. This can be done over a skillet or with a pair of tongs over an open flame. I really liked how it amplified the smokey flavor of the chipotle peppers. I used several toasted Puya chiles which aren’t too spicy and have a fruity, chocolatey flavor. This salsa is the perfect balance between smoky, spicy and sweet. It’s also really simple and goes with so many different tex-mex dishes. I could see it going well with eggs but I made it for tacos which turned out great!
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Once I had a batch of Pickled Corn Salsa ready I took a nice pork shoulder and slow cooked it for some tasty tacos! The pork is marinated in tomatoes, onions and spices and slow cooked for about 4 hours in a crock pot. The pork ended up being succulent and fall apart tender. I was really happy with how soft and flavorful it turned out. The acids from the pickled salsa complimented the richness of the shredded pork. For garnish, I added a touch of lime and queso fresco.
I love soups and tex-mex food and this recipe combines the best of both worlds! This soup combines a delicious mix of green chilies and tomatillos, chorizo, hominy, potatoes and spices. I went a little overboard with the garnishes and topped the soup with crumbled queso fresco, green onion, fresh lime, cilantro and smokey baked croutons. Even the croutons alone in this recipe are stand out awesome and could easily be snacked on alone! The recipe does require a lot of ingredients and time to prepare but it is totally worth it in the end. I actually never made anything with hominy before and I thought it worked really nicely with the other ingredients. The soup was hardy, with multiple layers of sweet, spicy and savory flavors. I chose a beef chorizo for the meat but soy and pork varieties would work fine in this soup. All of the ingredients blended together so well and I was happy with how it came out!
This salsa is a wonderful way to play on the flavors in both Moroccan and Tex-mex food. The salsa is moderately spicy with flavors that come from the sweet preserved lemons and chopped mint leaves. It’s so simple to put together if you already have a batch of preserved lemons pre-made in the fridge. The mint is wonderful in this recipe and creates a nice counterpoint to the heat that comes from the peppers. Since the preserved lemons are quite salty I wouldn’t recommend adding any more salt to the recipe. I used this salsa to go along with the Moroccan Chicken Tacos and it turned out really well!
Roasted a whole chicken is a perfect meat for tacos because it is tender, flavorful and easy to shred. I chose a basic spice blend of smoked paprika, cumin, garlic and oregano for the chicken. Then I baked it in the oven for a few hours which gave me enough time to make some fresh Pico de Gallo and shredded manchego cheese. Manchego is a great cheese for tacos because it has the creaminess of queso fresco but with a little more tartness. The tacos turned out really well! The smoky flavor of the chicken worked nicely with the manchego and creamy avocado. The recipe for the chicken is pretty versatile so I’m sure I’ll be experimenting with different salsas and condiments next time!
I guess I always overlooked beef chili a bit. This is probably because I didn’t care much for ground beef for a long time. Lately I have been enjoying this chili recipe because it is so simple and tasty. It gets points for the amount of ingredients (you can count them on one hand.) That is definitely not the norm for chilies which can require up to 20 ingredients! This chili should be cooked on a heavy bottomed saute pan where it slow cooks for about an hour. I like the taste of grass-fed ground beef so I use it for this recipe. The amount of hot sauce to add into the chili is really up to personal tastes. I like it on the spicy side so I add approximately 1/4 cup. I topped the chili with sharp cheddar and it can be served on top of rice or with corn bread.
I had never tried making a chili with squash so I was excited to see how this recipe would turn out. But first, let me back up and say that this chili has an interesting back story. Last year, my mom threw some squash seeds in a compost bin. The seeds did not break down as they should have but rather grew to be enormous squash plants over the summer (the vines were 20 ft. long and growing all over the lawn). Letting the vines run wild paid off because they produced gorgeous sweet dumpling squash and I was sent 6 of them in the mail (I’m sure there’s more where that came from). I was so excited to get started since I had never tried sweet dumpling before.
I read up on the squash and it turns out that most recipes just season and roast the squash whole because of their smaller size. They are milder than other squash and taste a bit like sweet corn. I thought preparing it in a chili with beans and corn would work nicely. I started with traditional chili spices like Chipotle in adobo and cumin as well as spices that would compliment the squash like allspice and cinnamon. The chili was so tasty and I was really happy with how it turned out.
Once I had my Corn Esquites Salad ready I decided to try it out in tacos. I settled on using a whole oven roasted chicken because the meat is tender and shreds easily so its perfect for tacos. I was thinking about which spices I wanted to use to season the chicken and I thought chipotle and lime would work well with the corn salad. I settled on a simple dry rub of chipotle pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, allspice and oregano. While the chicken was roasting the kitchen started to smell heavenly and I couldn’t wait to try them out! The tacos were really tasty and easy to put together. The smoky flavor of the chipotle and the tangy lime juice were a great combination. The recipe makes 12 tacos, or enough for two people for two dinners (3 tacos each).
When I came across the recipe for corn esquites salad I took one look at it and knew I had to give it a try. This salad is basically Mexican elote which is roasted corn on the cob seasoned with cayenne, butter, mayonnaise, and cotija cheese. The corn in this recipe is cut off the cob and pan roasted until the kernels char and caramelize. Then the corn is mixed with the elote ingredients, garlic, lime, jalapeno, and cilantro. I decided to kick it up a notch and add sliced tomatoes and avocado to the salad. It was so tasty! The combination of ingredients was sweet and spicy from the corn and jalapenos yet creamy and tangy from the lime juice and cotija cheese. It ended up being the perfect topping for tacos!