Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chicken Tomatillo Taco Party

As it is the season for roasting and making chicken, I decided to change it up a little. Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables is delicious, but I wanted to add some flair to our chicken. I found this recipe on  Tasting Table and modified it a little. I changed the salsa slightly and increased the amount I made (so I could make another dish) and changed how it was served. I thought this would be an awesome taco dish. And it was kind of perfect. I added some guacamole and we had a chicken taco making party.

It's a party on your plate

This is a dish you need to start prepping the night before; the chicken needs to sit and soak up all the spices. 

2 TSP kosher salt
½ TSP freshly ground black pepper
⅛ TSP ground cloves
⅛ TSP ground coriander
⅛ TSP ground cumin
One 3 ½-pound chicken with the backbone removed (if you have a cleaver or poultry shears you can do this on your own, it really isn’t that hard.; however if you do not, then ask your butcher to remove it)
2 TSP vegetable oil

1 large jalapeño
1 LB tomatillos  husked and rinsed
⅓ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
4 springs of Mint
1 TSP vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Sides
½ cup crumbled cotija cheese
2 TBS roughly chopped cilantro leaves
Corn tortilla

The night before:

In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, cloves, coriander and cumin.

On a cutting board, place the chicken breast-side down. Using poultry shears, snip along one side of the backbone, starting at the cavity side and working your way to the neck. Repeat on the other side and remove the backbone.  This will take some strength to get through some of the bones, but it shouldn’t take very long. Flip the chicken over and cut through the center of the breast plate to separate the chicken into two halves.

Season all sides of the chicken with the spice blend, using slightly more of the spice blend on the leg and thigh. Refrigerate, uncovered overnight. The chicken is going to get a little dry looking on the outside and the skin is going to become a light brown color.

The night of:

 Make the salsa two hours before you have dinner, you want all of the flavors to marinate together. In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add the jalapeno and tomatillos and and simmer until the tomatillos are bright green and the skins are beginning to crack, about 4 minutes.

Strain and put them in a blender. Blend until slightly rough and chunky.

Add the cilantro, mint oil and a pinch of salt and blend to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed, and the other jalapeño half to make it spicier if you like. Pour the salsa into a small bowl and set aside for 2 hours or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

So when you finally get ready to make the chicken, adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and middle positions and preheat to 500°.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit out at room temperature for at least 20 minutes which is about as long as it takes for the oven to heat.

Take the vegetable oil and with a brush, coat both sides of the chicken with oil.

Set the chicken skin side up on an aluminum-foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and roast on the middle rack for 10 minutes.

Turn the chicken halves over and cook until the chicken juices run clear at the leg/thigh joint and the chicken breast reads 150° to 155° on a thermometer. This should be about 10-12 minutes longer.

Finally, turn the broiler on and move the chicken to the upper-middle rack. Turn the chicken skin side up and broil until the skin is browned and crisp, 8 minutes in my oven, but generally shorter in most others. Make sure that when you’re broiling the chicken to  watch the broiler closely, as broiler intensities vary and you don’t want to burn your chicken. I’d recommend checking after 4 minutes and then keep checking every two minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes.

Out of the oven, all golden brown

Finally when you’re about to serve, you can remove the chicken from the bones, place on top of corn tortilla, add the cotija cheese, add the cilantro and use as much salsa as you’d like.

You will have left over salsa, so I’d recommend using it to make a Mexican Lasagna  

1 comment:

  1. that sounds awesome! if you like good mexican food, cooks illustrated has a recipe for pork tinga tacos / tostadas. awesome and good for a crowd. yummmmm.