Puffy Chicken Tacos

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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!!

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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.
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