Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken taco deluxe

The tacos I used to eat were mostly made of that oat-beef crap they sell at Taco Bell.

Sure, I’ve encountered my fair share of traditional tacos (corn tortilla, meat, onions, cilantro, salsa), but never in my life have I eaten as many as I have since coming to work in Santa Ana last year. They’re low in calories, freshly prepared and contain little, if any, processed nonsense.

While I’m all good with simple, I’m definitely not gonna hate when something with many components comes together to create the perfect bite.

Here’s Week 25, Meal 3: Chicken tacos with avocado puree, lime sour cream, and grilled corn-jicama salsa.

The Recipe (Yield: 2 servings)

12 oz. chicken thighs, boneless/skinless, trimmed
1 t paprika
1/2 t chipotle chile powder
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
cooking spray, as needed

Grilled corn-jicama salsa
1 1/2 c jicama, small diced
2 ears corn, husked
1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced
1 t Tajin vegetable seasoning (lime-chili powder available in most Mexican markets)
1 T chopped cilantro
cooking spray, as needed

2 oz. queso fresco
avocado puree (recipe)
lime sour cream (recipe)
4 corn tortillas

Preheat your grill to high while you prepare the spice mix and chicken.

In a bowl, mix together 1 t of paprika, 1/2 t of chipotle chile powder, 1/2 t of cumin, 1/2  t of coriander, 1/4 t of garlic powder, 1/4 t of onion powder, 2 t of salt and 1/2 t of black pepper.

Coat 12 oz. of chicken thighs with the seasoning and grill on high until they’re cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. While you’re on the grill, cook 2 ears of corn on all sides until you get some color on the kernels.

Allow the thighs to rest briefly, then shred with the back of  a fork, mixing well to distribute some of the outside seasoning.

Reserve and keep warm.

Knife work (done while the chicken was resting): Remove the kernels from the corn cobs. Drop the small dice on 1 1/2 c of jicama, seed and dice 1 serrano pepper and chop 1 T of cilantro. Combine all ingredients in a bowl with 1 t of Tajin vegetable seasoning.

Let sit for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors meld. Reserve.

To plate: Warm 4 corn tortillas over medium heat in a pan. In each tortilla put down 1 T of avocado puree, then 1/4 of the chicken. Follow with 1 T of the lime sour cream, then add as much salsa as you’d like and finish with a sprinkle of queso fresco.

My favorite dishes of Chef Brian’s are the ones that use a lot of different components that come together in the end and that’s just what you have in this tortilla. The avocado and sour cream, both packing some lime pucker, work well with the sweet corn in the salsa. The shredded chicken has just enough kick to say hello before the sour cream comes in to keep things under control. Texturally, the shredded chicken works better than diced thighs, and allows for the jicama and corn to stand out as the bulkier ingredients on the plate.

Perfect from end to end — all four bites if you’re wolfing them down like I am.

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