Alright…guilty again…I’ve been watching a ridiculous amount of Food Network over the weekend.
The Worst Cooks In America is actually not the worst cooking show out there! I’ve watched three seasons in the last week…Shhh….
And so, thanks to Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell, I learned about braising meat.
Chicken Tacos are something I make on a regular basis (the kids love ’em!), but I’ve been wondering what would happen if I were to braise (or slow cook) the chicken instead of grilling it like I usually do. Before I started, I found this fabulous article on how to braise chicken, and it was immensely helpful!
I’m still not exactly sure if I did it all correctly, but the results were happy! I’ll definitely give it another go!
For the chicken and braising liquid…
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
4 c. chicken stock
1 Tbsp. lime juice
For the mango salsa puree:
1/2 c. mango chunks
1/4 c. diced bell peppers (any and all colors!)
1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt
I also have another mango salsa recipe here!
For the taco toppings:
2 c. packed baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 c. sour cream
1 c. shredded cheese (any kind you like with your tacos!)
6 – 8 flour tortillas
Combine the chili powder, seasoning salt, pepper, garlic powder, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small prep bowl. Sprinkle 2/3 of the mixture on your chicken — both sides. We’re saving the rest for the braising liquid later. 🙂
Pour the olive oil into a large skillet (the bigger, the better!) and heat to medium-high. Sear the chicken for three to five minutes on each side. **They won’t be cooked through yet, and that’s okay! I learned that’s what the braising later is for!**
Remove the chicken from the heat and set aside.
Deglaze the skillet (fancy Food Network word for the win!) by pouring in the white wine vinegar, scraping down the bottom and sides of the pan (from all the cooked chicken) and discarding whatever was left.
Return the pan to medium-low heat. Place all the chicken back into the pan and pour the chicken stock over everything. Add the lime juice and the remaining 1/3 of the seasoning mixture. Give the liquid a gentle stir and cover.
Cook covered like this for thirty to thirty-five minutes.
Meanwhile, prep your salsa puree and your taco toppings!
Combine the diced bell peppers, mango chunks, diced cilantro, halved cherry tomatoes, lime juice and 1/2 tsp. of salt in a food processor and puree on high for about 30 seconds.
When the meat is done, the juices should run clear. My liquid was just barely bubbling, but not nearly enough to be a boil. Remove all the chicken from the pan, discard the liquid and shred the chicken using a fork (or a food processor, or whatever else you like).
Assemble tacos and enjoy!
I love arranging the different toppings in pretty bowls and often make a canned mild salsa and sour cream (literally half one, half the other) mixture that tastes awesome on tacos.
For my first attempt at braising, it tasted great, and turned out to be a pretty fun kitchen experiment!
Hope you enjoy the tacos as much as we did!