I was so excited to try my hand at making these tacos. They looked so crunchy and yummy when I saw them at the restaurant that I just wanted to run home and get into my kitchen! Do you ever do that? I am sure I drive my family crazy with it. We will order a meal and when it comes to the table I of course have to talk about how the food looks, then how it tastes, then how I can figure out what is in it and recreate it at home. They all look at me like “Really? Can we please just eat our food?” *sigh* the hazards of living with a food blogger I guess. So this was one of those moments. Although they weren’t complaining when I made it….HA!!
I will have to admit, I struggled with the tortillas. I don’t know if the dough was too moist or too dry but I just couldn’t get it to stay together. So I had to use my back up plan and fry regular white corn tortillas until they were puffy. They were great but I will conquer the elusive homemade puffy corn tortilla, I swear!! In case you posses better tortilla skills than me, I will post the recipe for how to make the tortillas below.
The other thing I like about this recipe is that I made two dishes using ingredients from this one recipe PLUS I used my Roasted Tomato Salsa Roja. I will be posting the recipe for my Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup tomorrow so make sure and hang on to the broth that you cook your chicken in tonight!!
Puffy Chicken Tacos
¼ cup olive oil
2½ lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and mashed
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Canola oil, for frying
3 cups masa harina (corn flour)
1½ tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
Shredded iceberg lettuce, diced tomato, and shredded cheddar cheese, to garnish
Heat oil in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add to pan, skin side down; cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; set aside. Add garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and bell pepper; cook, stirring, until soft, about 20 minutes. Add stock and tomatoes, and return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until chicken is very tender, about 1½ hours. Remove chicken from sauce, and let cool (Make sure to reserve sauce for Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup). Discard skin and bones, and shred chicken; set aside. Meanwhile, combine avocados, garlic, lime juice, and salt and pepper in a bowl; chill guacamole until ready to use, covering to avoid browning.
Pour oil to a depth of 2″ in a 6-qt. Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375°. Stir together masa, butter, and 2¼ cups warm water in a bowl until dough forms; divide dough into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Using a tortilla press or rolling pin, flatten each ball into a 6½″ disk. Place 1 disk in oil. When it begins to puff, press the end of a metal spatula into the middle of the tortilla so that tortilla bends into a taco shape; hold spatula within tortilla until taco is golden brown and crisp, about 1½ minutes. Transfer taco to paper towels to drain; repeat with remaining tortillas. Divide chicken and guacamole among tacos; top with lettuce, tomato, and cheese.