If only because I’ve been mildly obsessed with it lately, I’m going to share a favorite recipe: Barbecue Chicken Tacos. By mildly obsessed, I mean I’ve been eating this meal pretty much every day for the last week. I’m not really exaggerating there. Having made the meal so often, I like to whip it up for a quick lunch between classes or an easy dinner. The process is moderately easy, and once you get the hang of frying the taco shells, no one should have any trouble.
This recipe is great for family dinners, dates, feeding yourself and really any dining occasion you can come up with. The meal is always a hit and you’re sure to get requests for more. For the spicy food aficionados, you can add habanero pepper to the chicken in place of (or in addition to) jalapeno; the tacos will be a lot spicier, but the flavor combination is phenomenal. This recipe feeds two but is easy to multiply for extra mouths or the extremely hungry.
4 6-inch corn tortillas
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 chicken breast
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 whole jalapeno
Your favorite taco toppings
First, cook the chicken breast thoroughly: you can grill, bake or fry on a skillet. Then slice the chicken into bite size pieces and throw those into a large skillet over the stove with the chopped jalapeno. Add barbecue to the chicken and jalapeno for taste; I estimate about two tablespoons barbecue sauce per chicken breast, but taste as you add and make sure it’s to your liking. Leave the mix on the stove on medium heat until the chicken is slightly charred.
While the chicken mixture finishes cooking, start frying the taco shells. This process gets easier the more often it’s practiced. In a small skillet on the stove, pour about half a cup of oil and heat until the corn tortillas fry to a light brown color. You can throw torn bits of tortilla in the oil as it heats to find out when it’s hot enough; then you can eat those as chips. Once the oil is at frying temperature, you’re ready to make shells. Put one whole corn tortilla in the oil at a time and shape it as it fries, using metal tongs, into a traditional hard taco shell shape. Hold one half out of the oil to create a curve, switching sides to get the desired crispness and repeat with more tortillas until you have as many as you need. It usually takes about one minute per shell to reach the desired golden color.
Once you’re done with shells and your barbecue chicken is slightly charred, layer some chicken into a shell and top with everything you can fit: cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato — the list goes on.
When cooking, make sure to account for frying. Shaping the shells is the most time consuming process because it needs to be done one shell at a time; the more shells you have to fry the more time you need, but you’ll never regret it. Even as I write, I’m thinking of making more.
Enjoy your own barbecue chicken tacos and share your meals (successful or unsuccessful) on the Exponent Facebook page: facebook.com/MSUExponent.