It’s sad to say this, but until today, I haven’t eaten tacos since I left Los Angeles.
I know. It’s tragic. But I ended my Mexican food drought today, at the request of my Norwegian friend and neighbor. Naturally, being skeptical of Mexican food on the East coast, I called my cooking mentor in Los Angeles for advice. When I was nineteen, I fundraised for a volunteer trip to Tanzania — a friend of my father offered to help support my cause in exchange for help in the kitchen. I basically spent my Saturday afternoons that summer chopping vegetables in his kitchen, but learned to cook in the process (I can attribute my cooking skills to him these days). He is the authority on authentic Mexican food — I spent Christmas breaks making tamales (and almond florentines) en masse. So this morning he gave me recipe instructions for legit tacos.
They were quite successful — luckily, they sell some sort of variation of “Mexican Chili Powder” at Secret Safeway in Dupont. And we made tacos for nine people. Needless to say, Dillon and I spent our entire Saturday slaving in the kitchen and are now in a state of taco coma, while my friends are having trouble convincing me to go out. I’ll probably head to my favorite bar in an hour anyway.
WHAT YOU NEED:
Bone-in chicken breasts (we made about six pounds)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mexican chili powder
Vegetable Oil — about 1.5 cups for 5 pounds chicken
More shredded cheese
Lettuce, finely chopped
WHAT TO DO:
Boil the chicken in water with a pinch or two of salt for about two hours, until chicken is fully cooked and tender. Let cool, and then shred finely by hand, then toss in chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Preheat your oven to broil.
In a large frying pan or wok, sautee the garlic diced onions until translucent. Then add the shredded chicken to the pan, mixing vegetable oil according to appropriate texture (you don’t want the chicken to be too dry or too oily). Use salt and pepper to taste, and toss in dried oregano. Afterwards, transfer the chicken into an oven-safe pan, like a casserole dish, and drizzle shredded cheese on top. Broil in the oven for ten minutes, until the cheese is bubbling.
In the meantime, prepare the tomatoes, lettuce, limes, and avocados for toppings. Heat corn tortillas over the open flame on your stove, two at a time, as if they were one tortilla. Flip them with caution until the bread puffs slightly, and wrap them in a warm towel until all are complete. Remove chicken from the oven, and serve.