Tomato-braised chicken tacos

Guys, it’s officially Mexican Food Appreciation Week!

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Didn’t you get the memo? Ok well it’s not like it’s a worldwide or national or even state-level initiative. It’s contained to a pretty local area.

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Specifically, this blog. Yep, that’s right. For this week and this week only I’m going to be sharing all things Mexican food. It’s only appropriate for an avid Mexican food lover such as myself.

We’ll start with homemade tacos, then we’ll move onto the best taco I’ve had in NYC yet (alongside some pretty baller queso), and then we’ll talk side dishes that not only complement your homemade Mexican fiesta, but I have a sneaking suspicion would make killer 4th of July sides too.

Quick disclaimer: the taco recipe I’m about to share came from Oprah and I feel a little weird about that. Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s a great lady, I just never thought I’d be cooking from her recipes.

Origins and food snobbery aside, this recipe for tomato-braised chicken tacos is extremely easy (and I made it even easier) and yields saucy & slightly spicy pulled chicken that just begs to be smothered in avocado and layered in a warm corn tortilla.

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So you’d better do it.

Tomato-braised chicken tacos
(Adapted from Deborah Schneider via Oprah)

Makes 12 tacos

For the sauce:
1 can Rotel*

Believe it or not, you can stop here and have the easiest meal of your life. But I up the flavor ratio by adding:
3 jalapeños, seeded and roughly chopped
1/4 white onion, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic

For the chicken:
2 tsp. oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken pieces

For the tacos: 
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
12 corn tortillas, warmed
Optional: sliced avocado, queso fresco, shredded lettuce (I use arugula to be #fancy), avocado salsa

Place Rotel in blender and pulse a few times to combine. If using, add jalapeños, onion and garlic and puree until smooth.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken, in batches if necessary, about 2 minutes per side or more depending on the size of the pieces. Add tomato blend, reduce heat to medium-low and cover.

Simmer chicken for 30 minutes or until very tender. Then, remove the lid and shred the chicken into bite size pieces using two forks. Increase the heat to medium and cook 10 minutes longer until sauce coats the chicken, stirring every few minutes.

In the last 10 minutes of cooking the chicken, carefully heat the tortillas over a lit stove burner, turning with tongs, until warm and beginning to brown.

Top tortillas with chicken, cilantro and other toppings of your desire and enjoy.

*If you can’t find Rotel, use 4 quartered Roma tomatoes. This, along with the other sauce ingredients, are what the original recipe calls for. But Rotel is obviously easier and also comes with some spice and seasoning already mixed in so it’s a perfect substitute.
Tomato-braised chicken tacos: http://www.oprah.com/food/tomato-braised-chicken-tacos-recipe#ixzz4CmpGZg5w

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