Chicken with Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is the easiest thing ever. Made fresh on your stovetop in 45 minutes (including the meat), you’ll never buy the sodium-laden jars again.

Make tacos, enchiladas, burritos…or dip tortilla chips in it!

If you don’t like heat, leave the jalapeño out, because it does make the sauce spicy. Add in green bell pepper as a replacement.

As always, corn tortillas are traditional. Flour tortillas will work fine, but because they’re larger, you’ll get fewer tacos.

Garnish how you like…cilantro, lime wedges, radish slices, queso blanco…or sour cream. Or queso dip. Or all of the above. So delicious.

Chicken with Salsa Verde

Yield 10-12 tacos or enchiladas.

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken cuts (such as breast or thigh)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound tomatillos, papery shells removed, cut into small wedges
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced into rounds (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste

garnish with:

  • chopped cilantro
  • radish slices
  • queso blanco
  • sour cream
  • hot sauce
  • lime wedges

Heat oil in a large fry pan (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat; generously salt and pepper chicken, and add to pan. Brown meat 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan to a plate.

Add chicken broth and scrape up the brown bits in the pan. When broth is simmering, stir in tomatillos, jalapeño, onion, and garlic. Simmer on medium-high heat 15-20 minutes, or until tomatillos soften. Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, crush the tomatillos.

Add the chicken back and simmer 10-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and cut into slices; squeeze lime into sauce and season with salt if needed.

For enchiladas: heat tortillas, covered with a damp paper towel, in the microwave a few at a time, 15-20 seconds. Fill middle with a few slices of chicken, roll and place seam side down on a plate. Spoon verde sauce over the top. If desired, top with cheese and place under broiler for a few minutes to melt cheese. Finish with desired toppings.

For tacos: heat a dry skillet over high heat and lightly brown tortillas (corn only- heat flour tortillas using the microwave method above) until firm. Lay flat on a plate and add chicken, sauce and toppings as desired.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Bon Appétit’s Chicken with Salsa Verde

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Herbed Steak Tacos with Tomato-Basil Salsa

It is no secret that we love Latin food in this house.

It is also no secret that tortillas are our favorite way to deliver the goods. I have heaps of corn and flour tortillas in my kitchen at all times.

I was perusing the internet the other day, looking for recipe inspiration, and came across a “vinaigrette” that reminded me a lot of salsa, or pico de gallo…chunky bits of tomato and onion, but instead of cilantro, they used basil, and instead of lime, they used vinegar.

Aha! I have basil and vinegar in the fridge right this very moment!

Basil salsa…could a Mediterranean-style taco be in our future?

I thought I’d make this thing work. Rub a big shoulder steak with herbs, let it marinate, and grill to medium-rare perfection.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: please get yourself a good meat tenderizer (I have this one, and it’s not a mallet). They make such a difference in the tenderness of the meat. I mean, they’re called meat tenderizers for that reason, right?

So go get one. Or have the UPS man deliver one to you.

A meat thermometer is also indispensable in my opinion – it makes perfect meat a no-brainer. No poking or prodding, no cutting into the meat while it’s still in the pan, seeing if it’s done enough…or overdone.

The UPS man can bring you one of those too. I use mine whenever I cook steaks, pork tenderloin, or anything that needs to reach a specific temperature to be perfect.

Make the salsa while the steak rests; no need to refrigerate it. The basil loses its pungency if made too far ahead. You could, I suppose, mix up the other ingredients ahead of time and throw the basil in at the last minute, if you really wanted to.

Ibérico cheese is from Spain, a mix of cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk. I love it for its stronger flavor – it stands up to the vinegared salsa nicely. You could also try Parmesan or maybe feta if Ibérico isn’t available.

Corn tortillas will work if you need gluten free! Or stuff a pita with the mix!

What a surprise these flavors were, it was like taco identity crisis! So good, and a nice change from cilantro/cumin/lime. Did I really just say that?

Closeup Herbed Steak Tacos

Herbed Steak Tacos with Tomato-Basil Salsa

Salsa adapted from finecooking.com’s Chunky Tomato-Basil Vinaigrette   

makes 8 tacos.

for the meat:

  • 1 1/4 pound beef cut of your choice (I use 1 inch thick shoulder/London Broil)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 large garlic clove, sliced thin

for the salsa:

  • 1/2 cup diced Roma tomatoes (seeded)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

you will also need:

  • canola oil, for grilling
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 flour tortillas, taco or fajita size
  • shaved Ibérico cheese (available in most grocery delis, El Cortijo brand seems to be widely available)

On a piece of plastic wrap, drizzle steak with oil, and rub in spices and garlic with your hands. Wrap tightly and marinate 1-2 hours, taking the meat out of the refrigerator the last 30 minutes.

When meat is ready, preheat a dry, heavy skillet or cast iron grill pan over high heat.

One at a time, grill the tortillas on one side. Keep warm in a towel.

Reduce heat to medium, and give the pan time to cool off a bit (5-10 minutes). Scrape garlic and herbs off steak (garlic is more important to remove, it will burn) and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Oil pan lightly and add steak.

Let cook, undisturbed, for 5-10 minutes. Keep any eye on the heat – you want the pan to stay decently hot for a good sear, but not so hot it overcooks the meat. When you have nice browning, flip the steak. I suggest using a meat thermometer at this point, inserted into the thickest part of the steak, until it registers 125-130°F (medium rare). This will take another 10 minutes or so.

Remove the steak to a plate, and wrap with foil. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Now make the salsa: combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Cover and set aside.

Slice meat thinly, against the grain, into strips. Assemble the tacos by adding meat, a tablespoon of salsa, and shaving cheese over the top. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Red Wine Vinegar Slaw & Avocado Salsa

I’m obsessed with the little Honduran restaurant here in town called Izzy’s. It is positively delightful to have authentic flavors for inspiration!

Yes, I said positively delightful. See what a pleasant mood good food puts me in? Anyway, I’d been meaning to try to copy the slaw that tops most of the tacos at Izzy’s. It is crunchy, tangy, and this awesome shade of pink.

I also recently had a request for my blackened seasoning. I used shrimp, but try it on fish, chicken, anything. It is only slightly spicy (but enough so that my toddler rejects it – I just cook hers in butter with no seasoning). To get the right flavor, use butter, not oil, for cooking the blackened meat!

Before I do any more talking, I want to make sure you’re not intimidated by all the moving parts: the only real cooking here is the shrimp. Everything else is just chopped and stirred and marinated for awhile. So make this, it is easy and you will love it.

This recipe is a combo of old and new, spicy and tangy, creamy and crunchy.

And delicious and delicious.

I  seem to love italics today.

I decided to add avocado salsa to balance the strong blackened and vinegar flavors. You could just dice up some avocado and throw it on top, but what fun is that? I didn’t have any, but adding corn to this salsa is not only authentic, it also completes the flavor spectrum by adding sweet. Ahhh.

Corn tortillas are typically used, but if you like flour better that will work too. You’ll make fewer tacos since flour tortillas are larger, though.

If you want to go all out, make my avocado-cilantro ranch dressing and drizzle that on top. Good Lord ah’mighty. Or actually, ay Dios mio.

Serve these with tortilla chips so your guests can scoop up whatever falls out of the tortillas and onto their plates! And maybe some rice too, here’s my MSG-free yellow rice recipe.

P.S. Don’t have red wine vinegar? If you have apple cider vinegar, try topping these tacos with my Costa Rican Slaw recipe instead!

P.S.S. I was not kidding when I said I’m obsessed with Spanish food.

shrimp

 

shrimp1

Look how pretty it is! Don’t like seafood? Make it with chicken. Just sayin.

Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Red Wine Vinegar Slaw & Avocado Salsa

  • 1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 lime
  • 8-10 yellow or white corn tortillas, or flour tortillas

blackened seasoning mix:

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (or use regular if you don’t want the smoky flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • pinch of salt

for the slaw:

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lime or lemon

for the avocado salsa:

  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4-1/3 cup sweet corn kernels (optional)

Start by making the slaw 1-2 hours ahead of time: in a bowl with a tight fitting lid, mix all 4 ingredients together well. Cover and refrigerate, stirring slaw every 30 minutes. Slaw will soften and turn pink when it’s ready. The longer you let it sit in the vinegar, the stronger the flavor will be.

Next, make the avocado salsa. Mix all ingredients gently in a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Measure out the seasonings for the blackening mix and stir well. Put the shrimp in a large zip top bag and add half the seasoning. Seal and toss to coat. Add more seasoning to your liking – we use it all!

Heat a dry skillet to very, very hot (just leave it on high) and brown the tortillas one at a time, about 1 minute per tortilla. Keep them warm in a towel. If you’re using flour tortillas, wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave until warm, 20-30 seconds.

Turn heat off and move skillet to another burner. Let cool 5 minutes.

Return skillet to burner and heat on medium. Add butter, and when melted, add shrimp. Cook quickly, constantly tossing shrimp, 2-3 minutes. Squeeze the lime over them. Remove skillet from heat and immediately assemble tacos.

[Alternatively, you could grill the shrimp, in which case you’ll need melted butter to douse them with while they cook!]

Use 3-4 shrimp per taco. Drain vinegar before serving slaw. Top with a spoonful of avocado salsa. Serve with hot sauce or my avocado-cilantro ranch dressing. Enjoy!


Mini Shrimp Tacos

Recipe by Amy Grossi. See my blog post about this event here.

The chile cream sauce and cilantro combo here is to die for.  Use Tostitos Scoops tortilla chips for best results!

Mini Shrimp Tacos

  • 1 pound small peeled and deveined shrimp (50-60ct per pound)
  • bowl-shaped corn tortilla chips, such as Tostitos Scoops
  • 2 avocadoes, diced
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

for the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 or 3 chiles in adobo (choose your heat level)
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a bowl, sprinkle shrimp with chili powder, cumin, lime zest. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Cover and set aside.

Add yogurt, adobo chiles and lime juice to a food processor or blender.  Pulse until smooth. Stir in sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat skillet over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp, cooking 2-3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque.

Arrange corn chips on a large serving plate.  Top each chip with a shrimp and one slice of avocado. Using a spoon or a zip top bag with a very small hole cut in it, drizzle chili cream sauce over each mini taco.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately. Enjoy!


Steak Fajita Tacos

Surprise!  It’s a classic Spanish dish – Mexican tonight!

What, you’re not surprised?  Well.

I was feeling cheap and easy tonight.  I’m talking about our dinner, of course!

So I bought a super cheap cut of steak, something called the “shoulder cut”.  It was thin and looked a lot like flank steak, which is typically used in this application.

I have no idea why I didn’t just type “typically used in fajitas.”

I had 1 1/2 pounds of shoulder cut steaks, but flank or any other type you prefer will work just fine, if you’re not cheap like me.  Any acid will work if you don’t like lime-y beef (orange juice or vinegar would be traditional too).

This dish presents beautifully, full of color.  You could also make this with chicken if you like.

steak fajita tacos2

Steak Fajita Tacos

marinade:

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • juice of 2 limes

fajitas:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless shoulder steak (or flank steak)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8-10 corn tortillas

garnish:

  • cilantro sprigs
  • lime wedges
  • guacamole (try mine here!)

Combine marinade ingredients in a zip top bag, and add meat; refrigerate 12-24 hours.

Chop vegetables and stir fry in canola oil on medium high to high heat until beginning to soften and brown.

Make the guacamole now, and set aside.

When vegetables are done, set aside.  To same pan, add meat and cook to medium rare or medium (steak will still be soft to the touch).

Let meat rest 5 minutes before cutting.  Cut against the grain into thin strips.  Top warmed corn tortillas with meat, peppers and onions, guacamole, cilantro and lime juice.  Yum!  Enjoy!


Coriander Chicken Tacos with Mango-Tomato Salsa

Have I ever mentioned that I am obsessed with coriander?

It smells sooo heavenly.  I want to swim in it!  It’s actually the seeds of the cilantro plant.  No wonder I love it!  I love cilantro!

How about a recipe that includes both?  Spanish maybe?  Done.

Coriander makes such a great spice for chicken, seafood, and vegetables and is used extensively in many Latin American countries including Mexico.  Try this recipe with a different protein for variety!

The mango-tomato salsa is divine.  It’s all the chicken needs.  If you have an avocado handy, add that in too!

Coriander Chicken Tacos with Mango-Tomato Salsa

Yield 4-5 cups chicken & 2 cups salsa.

the chicken:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • juice of half a lime
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for cooking

the salsa:

  • 2 mangoes, diced
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
  • 1 avocado, diced (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno, partially seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • juice of whole lime
  • salt to taste
  • 8-10 tortillas, corn if you’re going gluten free

Begin with the chicken, dicing the meat into uniform pieces.

Measure out the coriander, garlic powder, oregano, pepper and salt, and add to a zip top bag with the chicken.  Add canola oil and the lime juice, seal up and toss to evenly coat. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Next, prepare the salsa.  Dice up the mangoes, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and onion and add to a bowl.  Sprinkle in the coriander and salt and squeeze the lemon juice over the top.  Stir to combine, cover and refrigerate.

Add the chicken to a skillet with 2 tablespoons canola oil.  Cook on medium high heat until cooked through and browned on the outside.

Warm the tortillas in a clean skillet over high heat until warmed through and beginning to brown.  Keep warm in a kitchen towel until ready to serve.

Assemble tacos, topping chicken with salsa mixture.  Serve with hot sauce and wedges of lime.  Enjoy!