A few days ago I showed off this quickly snapped picture of my dinner: a chicken soft taco. Today through Saturday, I will be at a state conference for librarians. Since I’m scheduled for lunch and the like at conference, I thought I’d share this recipe with you today. The latter half of this week is going to be completely bentoless.
This recipe is chicken based delicious. As usual, I found it on Recipezaar. While it does take a bit of preparation, I highly recommend trying it. I have never made a soft taco that tasted this good to me (even using those little packets of spice at the grocery story). I think it is the boiling process that makes all the difference. As I made this recipe, I took pictures to share. I’m glad I did, but it is a picture-heavy post.
I didn’t take a picture of all the ingredients I used for this recipe. I’ll list what parts of the recipe ingredients I used, because I didn’t have everything on hand the actual recipe lists. My version listed below includes includes:
- Chicken – I used about 3.5 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- Onion powder – I used this since I didn’t have any actual onions to include.
- Fresh garlic cloves – Oh yum! I love garlic
- Butter or margarine
- Bell peppers of your choosing – either green or the sweet peppers (red/orange/yellow variety)
- Black pepper
- Ground cumin powder
- Tomato sauce
- Reserved chicken broth
Now, let’s get to cooking.
I took some chicken from my freezer for this recipe and threw it in a pan to defrost in the fridge. Once defrosted, it was moved to my kitchen sink. The chicken was then opened and rinsed well. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but chicken breasts would work just as well too. If you’re trying to save money, chicken thighs are normally fairly cheap with skin & bone. You could just deskin and debone the chicken yourself. A bit more work, but worth it when you can get regular chicken thighs for cheaply.
Place all your chicken into a large stock pot.
Take three cloves of garlic…
and peel and smash them. Smash is a very technical term. At least, it is the term used in the recipe. I was unsure exactly how “smashed” the cloves should be. I opted to whack them a few times with the back of an ice cream scoop until the cloves opened up a bit.
Throw the garlic into the pot with the chicken. Also throw in the following seasoning: 1 tsp onion powder and 1 tablespoon salt.
Fill this pot with enough water to just cover the chicken. Place the pot onto your stove on a medium heat. Not too high. You want to bring this to a slow boil. I was unsure of what that meant as well. I just watched the pot until things start to boil and that wave action just started to happen with the boiling water. But I didn’t let things progress to that “gonna jump out and get you” rolling boil stage.
This is what my pot looked like at a slow boil. Not sure how helpful the picture actually is….but onwards we go.
Once the slow boil happens, reduce the heat on your pot to simmer, place a lid on the pot to maintain the simmer. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked through.
After about 20/25 minutes, check your chicken for doneness. Remove the chicken from the pot with tongs to a strainer, leaving all that water in the pot. Turn off the heat on the pot. Rinse the chicken slightly with warm water.
Take a piece of chicken and place it on a cutting board. Sorry for the blurry picture. I must have done something wrong there.
Using two forks, shred your chicken, and repeat with all chicken pieces.
Store all the shredded chicken in a food storage container. Once all pieces of chicken are shredded, the chicken needs to cool completely. Place it in your fridge to cool safely. I ended up just placing mine in the fridge overnight and finished the recipe the next day.
After shredding your chicken, you need to reserve some of the water that cooked the chicken. In essence, it is a bit of a light chicken broth. I used a strainer to strain 1 cup of reserved broth into a bowl. I disposed of the rest. If you have uses for this sort-of chicken broth, place it into a container and freeze it. I’d recommend straining it all first.
Once your chicken has cooled completely, it is time to make the filling. The amount of chicken I cooked (3.5 pounds) was way more than I needed. I froze 2/3 of the chicken in the above photograph, leaving about 1/3 to cook finish the recipe.
For the filling, cut up 1 – 2 bell peppers, depending on how much bell pepper you like in your food. You also need 1 large clove of garlic minced. The seasonings I used are 1/2 tsp of onion powder, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp of ground cumin, and 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce. Note: I had to open a whole can of tomato sauce to get 2 tablespoons worth. I just placed the rest in a bag and put that in the freezer. I’ll defrost it and make chicken spaghetti one day soon.
Heat a large, heavy skillet on a medium heat. Place 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter or margarine in the heated pan and melt.
Swirl the melted butter around so it covers the bottom of the whole pan.
Add in your diced bell peppers and seasonings.
Add your cooled, cooked chicken and saute briefly.
Once done, fill up a tortilla and add your choice of toppings. I just had shredded cheese on hand at the time. Last night, I ate this with avocado in the mix. YUM!
This recipe is available as a Post to Go. Click here to open the .pdf file. You will need Adobe Reader (free software) to view and print the file.
Be the bento everyone! Have a great day!