Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos

Believe it or not, one of the most popular recipes on this blog is my take on Rotisserie Chicken Burritos.  I’m guessing it must be the combination of cheesy deliciousness and the ease of using precooked rotisserie chicken that makes the burritos so popular. (And did I mention the melted cheese? YUM!)  With that in mind, Matt and I set out to see what other easy weeknight meal we could make with rotisserie chicken.  These baked chicken and poblano chile taquitos are the satisfying result!

Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos

Taquitos are basically little burritos that are bite-sized and perfect for dipping.  Just like burritos, taquitos are created by wrapping a tortilla around tasty filling, but unlike burritos the taquitos are baked in the oven (or fried) to give them a nice crispy texture.  The firm outer shell of the tortilla helps each little taquito hold its shape as you dip it into your choice of salsa, sour cream or guacamole.

We made our taquitos rather plump which worked out well since they were our main dinner entree.  If you wanted to serve these as an appetizer you could make them a little thinner.  Also, we made up our filling as we went along and we’ll probably continue to tweak it when we make these in the future, so have fun and play around with your own combination of shredded meat, veggies, and seasonings.  Just don’t forget the cheese!  🙂

Homemade Taquitos Montage

Baked Rotisserie Chicken Taquitos with Poblano Chiles

You will need…
3 small Poblano Peppers
1/2 Yellow Onion, finely diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 large Rotisserie Chicken Breast, meat removed from bone and chopped
1 teaspoon Chile Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Approx. 1 cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
Handful Cilantro Leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Peanut Oil
12-18 Small Corn Tortillas
Sour Cream and Salsa, for serving

Directions:
Place the poblano peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and broil on the top rack of an oven for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally, until the pepper skin is blistered and starting to blackened.  Remove from the oven and transfer the peppers to a glass bowl.  Cover the bowl for 5-10 minutes with a dish towel to hold in the moisture.  Then, carefully peel the skin off of the poblanos (it should come off pretty easily), remove the seeds and finely chop.

Saute the diced onions and garlic in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until translucent.  Add in the chopped poblanos, chicken and seasonings (chile powder through salt and pepper) and stir well.  Saute until ingredients are heated through then transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in the shredded cheese and cilantro to complete your taquito filling.

Heat the peanut oil in a small pan over medium heat.  Use tongs to place a tortilla in the oil.  The oil is hot enough when small bubbles appear around the outer edge of the tortilla.  (It’s too hot if the oil is bubbling wildly and/or causing the tortilla to lift up out of the oil.)  Allow the tortilla to heat in the oil for 20-30 seconds, then use the tongs to flip it over and cook for another 15 seconds.  Lift the tortilla out of the oil, allow the excess oil to drip off, then transfer to a cutting board.  Fill the tortilla with a small amount of the filling (approx. 2-3 tablespoons), roll it up, and place it seam-side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat this process with the remaining tortillas.

Bake the taquitos in a preheatead 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Taquitos!

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Carnitas Tostadas

A few weeks ago we made delicious pork carnitas tacos during our Engagement Photo Session. To make those carnitas, we slow-cooked a bone-in 4 lb. pork butt for 8-10 hours and then shredded it and seasoned it once it was fully cooked. That recipe turned out great but we decided to try a (slightly) quicker version of these tasty pork bites just to see how they would differ. In this latest version, the pork is cut up into 1 1/2 inch cubes before cooking, then slow-cooked with an array of seasoning for just 6 hours.

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

The resulting pork was tender and juicy and quite different in flavor and texture than our first take on carnitas. I think that I maybe liked these a little better, but they also required more prep work so it’s really a toss up depending on how much time you have! We used our carnitas to build Mexican tostadas… towers of beans, pork, cheese, salsa, and sour cream atop crispy, fried corn tortillas. Yum!

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

Ingredients for the Pork Carnitas:
(Carnitas recipe from Williams-Sonoma’s The New Slow Cooker Cookbook)
2 lb. Boneless Pork Shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dried Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 tablespoon Sherry Vinegar (we substituted in 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar & 1 tsp Sherry)
Salt and Pepper
1 Yellow Onion, quartered
3 Bay Leaves
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Chile Powder

Ingredients for the Tostadas:
1 – 15 oz. can Refried Beans
1/2 Jalapeño Pepper, finely chopped
Peanut Oil
6 Corn Tortillas
Shredded Cheese (we used a mix of Mozzarella and Mexican blend)
Salsa
Sour Cream
Chopped Cilantro, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

Directions:
To make the pork carnitas, mix together the first six ingredients (pork thru salt & pepper) in a slow cooker. Add in the onion and bay leaves, then cover and cook the pork on low for 6 hours. When cooking is complete, use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to a plate or bowl. Skim the fat off of the cooking liquid and remove and discard the onion piece and bay leaves. Pull the pork apart using two forks, then season with the cayenne pepper and chile powder (to taste) and add in several spoonfuls of the cooking liquid until the pork reaches your desired level of juiciness.

To make the tostadas, start by combining the refried beans and chopped jalapeño in a microwaveable bowl. Heat the beans in the microwave on high for 2 minutes and stir well.

Meanwhile, coat the bottom of a small frying pan with peanut oil (enough to just allow a tortilla to float on the oil but not enough to submerge it completely). Heat the oil over high heat and then, using tongs, carefully place one tortilla in the oil. The oil around the edge of the tortilla will boil rapidly. (If it doesn’t bubble, increase the heat until it does.) Allow the tortilla to fry in the oil until the bottom side turns golden brown, then use your tongs to flip the tortilla over and fry until that side is golden brown as well. Transfer the tortilla to a paper towel-lined plate, then repeat this frying process with the remaining tortillas.

To assemble your tostadas, cover one side of each tortilla with a liberal amount of the bean mixture. Top with a few spoonfuls of the pork carnitas, then sprinkle a handful of shredded cheese on top. Broil the tostadas for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Top with spoonfuls of salsa and sour cream and garnish with cilantro and lime juice. Serve with a cold beer and enjoy!

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

Easy Chicken Fajitas

This is a quick and easy weeknight recipe that we enjoyed last week.  Besides the basic pantry items, all you really need is a chicken breast, red pepper, onion, and tortillas… simple!

Easy Chicken Fajitas (from Food and Wine)

You will need…
1 teaspoon Chile Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Chicken Breast (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips
1 White Onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup Water
2 tablespoons Lime Juice
6-8 corn Tortillas, warmed
Sour Cream
Hot Sauce, such as Cholula

Directions:
Combine the first six ingredients (chile powder through cornstarch) in a small bowl and stir well to combine.  Place the chicken, pepper, onion, olive oil and water in a large ziplock bag and sprinkle in the dry ingredient mixture.  Close the bag and mix/flip well so that the chicken is covered.  Allow to marinade in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Add in the chicken mixture and stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked through.  Stir in the lime juice and serve in the warmed corn tortillas with sour cream and a few drops of hot sauce.

Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos

I know that it’s already ocho de Mayo but I’ve been busy at work (and in the garden!) so I’m finally just getting around to posting about our yummy dinner from Saturday night.  Ever since we made BBQ Chicken Quesadillas back in March we’ve been obsessed with La Tortilla Factory’s Green Chile Corn Tortillas and, as a result, we decided to make a meal that utilized these delicious little disks for Cinco de Mayo.  We pulled out our trusty Mexican Everyday cookbook by Rick Bayless and Matt quickly declared that the Pork Tinga Taco recipe sounded like a winner.

After a quick mid-day trip to the grocery store we had the taco filling prepped and in the Crockpot.  Most of the work for this recipe is done during the initial prep stage (6 hours before you eat) which is nice because this means that your dinner is basically sitting their waiting for you once dinnertime rolls around.  In our case we were able to use our “free time” in the evening to enjoy homemade Salsa and Margaritas.  🙂

Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos with Avocado and Queso Fresco (from Mexican Everyday)
(serves an army in one sitting or serves two for dinner and provides 4-5 leftover lunches throughout the week)

You will need…
1 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 lbs. Boneless Pork Shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 – 15 oz. cans Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained
3 canned Chipotle Chiles en Adobo, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1 tablespoon Adobo canning sauce from Chipotles
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
3 cloves Garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1 1/4 teaspoons Salt
1 Medium White Onion, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 Mexican Chorizo Sausage, casing removed
16 Corn Tortillas, warmed
1 cup Crumbled Queso Fresco Cheese (substitute feta if you can’t find QF)
2 large Avocados, pitted and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

Directions:
Approximately 6 hours before you plan to eat dinner, line the bottom of your slow cooker with the potatoes and top with an even layer of the pork.  Combine the next seven ingredients (tomatoes thru salt) in a bowl and mix together.  Pour the tomato mixture over the pork and top with the sliced white onion.  Cook on “high” for 6 hours.

Pork Tinga mixture after slow-cooking for 6 hours. After this photo was taken we poured out the excess liquid, reduced it, and stirred it back into the pork to retain the intense flavor.

When your pork is done, brown and crumble the chorizo, drain the excess fat, and stir it into your pork mixture.  Break up the pork into smaller shredded pieces as you stir.  At this point check to see how much liquid is in your slow cooker.  If yours is anything like ours was, it will be way too watery to spoon onto a tortilla.  Rather than throwing away this excess liquid, pour it into a sauce pan and boil rapidly to reduce.  Stir the syrupy reduced liquid back into the meat for maximum flavor.

Warm your tortillas.  An easy shortcut is to sandwich a tortilla between two damp paper towels and microwave it on high for 30-45 seconds.  This makes the tortillas warm, moist and pliable without dirtying a frying pan.  🙂  To build your Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos, place a few spoonfuls of the pork mixture on the warm tortilla and top with queso fresco and avocado.  Enjoy!