“taco! taco! taco!”
(you MUUUUUUST watch this clip from Paulie!)
recipe behind the cut.
When I used to work at Chapter One, there were two pastry cooks who worked under Ryan. I was one of them, and there was another girl named Mel. Since I was not scheduled on Sundays, Mel handled all the prep for Sunday brunch. But one week, Mel took a vacation, so I took over the Brunch prep for her shift.
Brunch prep is relatively easy for pastry; we just make scones, pancake batter, and then juices and infusions for the specialty cocktails. The problem was that our bloody mary was Ryan‘s special recipe that had a Mexican twist to it (“Bacon bourbon / Tito’s Corn vodka / Death’s Door gin with ancho & mole bloody mary mix”). Since we only used very little of these special ingredients, Mel went out every week to the bodega to supply them. So, I went to Food 4 Less on 4th Street (which is the closest thing to a Mexican market I’ve ever been) and bought the ingredients – mole, chipotle, adobo sauce… Stuff I’ve heard Bobby Flay talk about on the telly but had never actually seen or used before. I made my way around, asked the store people by showing them the recipe I had in hand, and managed to purchase the peppers that I needed for this recipe.
I got to the restaurant, blended these spices into tomato sauce, passed it through a chinois (which took like, 30 minutes of hard manual labor) and made the most disgusting, dirt-like bloody mary mix ever. It was unpalatable. And I had to throw all 4 quarts of it away.
In my defense: “But I followed the recipe on the paper! I don’t know what went wrong!”
Ryan: “Let me see what you used.”
Me: (hands jars and bags to him)
Ryan: “… You used the wrong peppers.”
Me: “…There’s different chipotle peppers?”
Turns out I had bought the wrong ingredients. I was supposed to buy canned chipotles in adobo sauce instead of chipotle and adobo peppers. But I wouldn’t know, I’ve never used these before! The only adobo I knew was the Filipino Chicken adobo!
But my friends, I am glad to tell you now that I know the differences, and have managed to purchase the right peppers for this recipe. It is glorious and delicious and super easy, AND it makes a shit ton of filling. We made it with pork butt too, and it is stiiiiill amazing.
Braised Chicken Tacos
adapted from NoRecipes
2 pounds whole chicken thighs
2 medium onions, sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
juice of 1/2 lime
1. Salt and pepper chicken thighs. Add a splash of oil to a large sauce pot, heated medium-high. Brown the chicken both sides, and remove.
2. Add onions and garlic, saute until clear. Put chicken back in, add tomatoes (with juice!), peppers, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaf.
3. Braise over low~medium for an hour or so, until chicken falls apart.
4. Take off of heat. Pull out bay leaf and cinnamon sticks. Take two forks and shred the chicken and mix with the tomatoes and onions. Put back on heat and reduce until most of the liquid is gone. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Eat gloriously with tortillas, limes, onions, cilantro, and cheese.