Monday, March 25, 2013

Down Mexico Way - Ancho Chicken Tacos with Avocado Crema & Micheladas

Whenever I ask my husband if he's got any special requests for the next week's dinner lineup, he always responds (in a petulant child's voice he puts on for my amusement), "Tacos!!!" Really, I don't know why I even bother asking, as this is almost always his response. By now, it's a running joke in our house. One of the reasons Tacos are so universally loved is probably their amazing versatility. They really do offer something for everyone. We've surely explored the wonders of Tacos before on NK. As a refresher, check out our quickie version of Tacos al Pastor (my all time favorite Taco preparation, recipe HERE), and of course, my friend Marina's extremely delicious version Baja Fish Tacos - recipe HERE.

So I ask you, who doesn't love a good taco? 

This week's Taco inspiration comes from a recipe I adapted from Cooking Light. These spicy Mexican-style Chicken Tacos have a ton a flavor and not a lot of fat. Ancho Chile Powder provides a real kick, and cooling Avocado Crema adds richness. Best of all, these are incredibly easy to prepare. 

Ancho Chicken Tacos with Avocado Crema, Photo: NK

Since nothing complements a Taco better than Beer, we'll also share our favorite recipe for an amazing, spicy Mexican Beer-based cocktail, the Michelada. 

Quick and Easy Ancho Chicken Tacos with Avocado Crema and Cilantro Slaw 
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 4 (2 Tacos each)

1 Lb Organic Chicken Breast, boneless and skinless, cut into bite sized chunks
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil 
8 (6 inch) Corn Tortillas
Spice Rub, Photo: NK

For the Avocado Crema
1/4 Cup Light Sour Cream
1/2 Avocado, very ripe and cut into chunks
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
1/4 teaspoon grated Lime Zest
1/8 teaspoon Salt 
2 Tablespoons Skim Milk

For the Spice Rub
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Salt 

For the Slaw
Preparing the Crema, Photo: NK
2 Cups Packaged Cole Slaw Mix
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice 
1/2 Cup Scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Prepare the Spice Rub by mixing all ingredients together. 

In a medium bowl, prepare the Slaw by mixing all ingredients together. Toss well and set aside. 

Slaw and Avocado Crema, Photo: NK
Prepare the Avocado Crema by mixing the Sour Cream, 2 Tablespoons of Lime Juice, 1/4 teaspoon Lime Zest, Salt and Skim Milk in a bowl. Next, add the Avocado chunks. Using a fork, stir vigorously mashing avocado as best you can into the bowl to break it down. When you have made the mixture as smooth as possible, it should be a pale green shade. 

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. 
Add 1 Tablespoon Canola oil. 
Toss Chicken pieces together with the Spice Rub until evenly coated. Add seasoned Chicken to skillet. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate, cover lightly,and set aside. 

While Chicken is resting, heat Tortillas according to directions. (We usually wrap 4 at a time in a damp paper towel and put them in the microwave for 25 seconds.)

To Assemble: Portion some Chicken in the middle of the Tortilla, drizzle with about 1 Tablespoons Avocado Crema, and top with a 1/4 Cup of the Slaw. Optionally garnish with a think slice of Avocado. Add your favorite hot sauce and enjoy!

Plus ~ A Bonus Leftover Idea for 2:
If you've got extra Slaw and Avocado Crema, just mix them together and save overnight in the fridge. The next day, chop up half an Orange or other Citrus and mix into the Slaw, squeezing a bit of the juice on top. Pick up an an extra Avocado, cut in half, and season with Salt and Pepper. Stuff with Avocado Crema and Orange Slaw. Makes a great side dish!

 Avocado Stuffed with Orange, Slaw and Avocado Crema, Photo: NK

Now for the drink:
Salt Rimmed Glass, Photo: NK

House Michelada
Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp
Makes 2 drinks

4 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ancho Chile Powder
1/4 Cup Bottled Lime Juice 
1 whole Lime, quartered
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1 teaspoon Cholula - (or instead of Tabasco and Cholula, two teaspoons hot sauce of your choice - less if you are spice averse)
1.5 Cups light Mexican Beer, we use Modelo Especial
2 teaspoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce (or 1 tsp Regular Soy)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
6 Ice Cubes

Put Kosher Salt on a plate and sprinkle the Ancho Chile Powder over it. 
Rub a fresh Lime quarter around the rims of each glass and place it rim down into the Salt and Chile Mixture until evenly coated. 

In a separate pitcher or large glass, mix Beer, Lime Juice, 2 teaspoons of Hot Sauce (or less if you prefer), Soy Sauce, and Worcestershire. Mix well. Place 3 ice cubes in each glass and pour Beer Mixture over. Garnish with a Lime Wedge. Cheers! 

Michelada, Photo: NK

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