Monday, March 26, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Tostadas

Do you find yourself always trying to get out of your weekly dinner menu rut?  You wander around your kitchen, with your grocery list and pen in hand, and you stare at the cupboards in a fog.  Then you write down: pizza, chicken, pasta, done (by the way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those options, but when you are eating them for the 12th week in a row, you may just be craving something... new?  I know Peter would disagree, as I truly believe he could eat pizza once a day for the rest of his life).  

The nice thing about this recipe is it's not a drastic turn from your regular dinner staples but offers new flavors without scaring your picky eaters.  Plus, they're fun to eat because you can have a contest where the one who can actually eat them without spilling half of their plate on the floor wins. (Fern gives this recipe five paws.)

This is not an original, however. I have changed up a few things to make it more convenient for those working 40-hour weeks. Just because you're workin' your 9-5 doesn't mean you can't come home and have the best dinner ever!

Chipotle Chicken Tostadas
(see the original recipe here, from Bon Appetit's 04/2010 issue:
(Serves 4)

  • Pulled Chipotle Chicken (see options below)- these options should create enough leftover chicken for my Chicken Noodle Soup with Kale & Squash, to have for a dinner later in the week!
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 8- 6" corn tortillas
  • 1/4 c. peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 c. crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
  • 2 c. thinly sliced green cabbage or Napa cabbage
  • 1 c. chopped tomato (you can seed it if you want, but I don't mind the seeds)
  • 1-2 avocados, pitted and sliced
  • Hot sauce, olive oil, and red wine vinegar for drizzling
  • Lime wedges

Preheat the oven to 200° F.
Heat the oil in an 8 or 9” fry pan, on medium heat, until the oil shimmers.
Place a tortilla in the oil, and press with tongs to submerge.  Fry for about 4 minutes, flipping every minute, until the tortilla is a nice golden brown on each side. 
You may see bubbles starting to form while the tortilla fries.  Just press them lightly with the tongs. 
Place on a paper towel to drain excess oil, then place in the oven, directly on the rack to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the refried beans in a saucepan, on med-low.  Remove from heat and cover until ready to serve.
Assemble the tostadas.
Spread refried beans over tostada shells. 
Top with queso fresco, chicken, cabbage, tomato, and avocado. 
Drizzle lightly with olive oil, vinegar, and hot sauce.  
And I highly recommend squirting a nice wedge of lime on each :)
Enjoy your stay in Mexico for the evening!

Chicken Preparation (for grilled or baked option)
  • 1 4-5 lb chicken, cut into 8 parts (2 breast, 2 thighs, 2 legs, 2 wings and excluding the back)
  • 3 T butter, softened
  • 1 T chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ T dried oregano or 1 T fresh, if you have it handy
  • ½ tsp dried coriander
  • 1 T chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 T minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo*
Using a fork, mix butter, all chopped herbs and chipotle chiles in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.  
The herbed butter should look like this 
and the smell should make you want to put it on everything… possibly even your morning cereal…

Rinse the chicken pieces in water and pat dry with paper towels (the herbed butter mixture will NOT stick well if the chicken is damp).
Taking each piece of chicken, slide your fingers under the skin to loosen, folding back but being careful to keep connected and pat the uncovered meat dry.
Spread the seasoned butter on each piece, coating evenly.  Put the skin back in place.
Coat the skin lightly with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

*Chipotle peppers in adobo can usually be found canned in the international food aisle of most supermarkets

Cooking Options:
Grilled Chipotle Chicken (our favorite way :)
Preheat the grill on med-low for 5 minutes. 
Place the chicken pieces, skin side up, on the grill, and cook on med-low, for about 30 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes or so. 
The chicken is ready when the meat registers at 165° F. 
Let cool then shred the meat with two forks, discarding the skin.  (If you prefer, you can reserve some of the nicely crisped skin pieces and save them with the leftover chicken, as they added a lot of depth to the flavor of the Chicken Noodle Soup.)
Tent with tinfoil while completing the rest of the prep.

Baked Chipotle Chicken
Preheat the oven at 400° F.
Coat the bottom of a baking sheet or roasting pan with olive oil.
Arrange the pieces skin-side up on the pan so the pieces aren’t crowded.
Cook for 30 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350° F and cook for 10-30 minutes more until the internal temperature of the breast is 165° F.
Remove pan from oven and let the chicken cool, then shred the meat with two forks (reserving the skin, as mentioned above).
Tent with tinfoil while completing the rest of the tostada prep.

A Quick, Weeknight Chipotle Chicken Option
  • 1 4-5 lb rotisserie chicken
  • 1 handful of chopped cilantro
  • ½ T dried oregano
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp minced rosemary
  • ¼ tsp chipotle powder or 1 T minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo*
Shred the chicken meat, using two forks. 
Place the meat in a bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients.
Set aside while completing the prep for the tostadas.

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