Monday, April 2, 2012

Beer-braised Chicken Tacos

Some friends and I went to a cabin in the woods a few weeks ago for a weekend getaway.

We shared cooking duties, and I was involved in Mexican Night.  I thought up this idea for making some beer-braised chicken to share with those of us who were not vegetarian.  Boy did the vegetarians miss out, because this was one of the best things I've ever made!  I've cooked the recipe several more times since.  It takes a little time to braise things until they are tender, but it's really worth it.  Dark-meat chicken is the quickest to prepare, but I've also used this same recipe with leftover pork chops that were also tasty.

For the beer in the recipe, I've used several things, depending on what was available:

Redbridge Beer
New Planet Raspberry Beer
Harvester Pale Ale

Everything worked well, even the raspberry beer.  I recommend just getting something that you want to drink, because you probably won't use a whole bottle unless you're making a larger batch.

I often make my own tortillas.  Corn tortillas are naturally gluten-free and it's amazing to have them fresh.  Check out the No Recipes blog post on How to Make Tortillas to learn how.

Recipe for Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos

Makes enough meat for about 6 tacos

In a heavy saucepan, heat:

1 Tbsp olive oil

Once the olive oil is hot, brown on both sides, one or two at a time:

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs

Brown them one at a time if necessary; don't crowd them in the pan.  Once there is nice browning on the bottom of the pan remove the chicken to a plate and pour in:

1/2 cup beer

Scrape up the browning from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  This browning makes the sauce deliciously rich.  Once the pan is completely deglazed, add the chicken back in and top the chicken with:

salsa verde
more beer if needed
salt to taste (depending on how salty your salsa is, you may not need any salt.  The flavors will concentrate as the dish cooks.)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (optional)

Cook at a simmer until the meat is  very tender, 40-60 minutes.  If more browning forms on the bottom of the pan, scrape it up and incorporate it into the sauce.  In the meantime, prep your tortillas and any toppings you want.  I like sauteed shallots and bell peppers, fresh sliced avocado, cilantro, and sour cream (pictured above).  Other times, I like to keep it simple to highlight the verde sauce (pictured below).  When the chicken is done, assemble your tacos with all your favorite toppings, or leave each topping in a bowl for each person to choose their own.


Rogene said...

Those look good. I'm going to have to check out your tortillas.

Gina said...

Rogene - Home-made tortillas are the best! I'm still developing my technique, but you can get good results even the first time with the recipe I linked to from Marc's blog No Recipes.

Christopher said...

Incredible tacos! There's no way a taco lover couldn't love these.