Saturday, November 22, 2014

Beer Braised Chicken Tacos with Apple-Pomegranate Salsa


TACOS. Little did I know that when I moved to Austin, that my world would be so rocked by tacos. Growing up in Seattle, tacos aren't really a thing. Looking back, it almost makes me laugh that we used to eat tacos on a crunchy shell. They were simple, and ALWAYS the same. Crunchy corn tortilla shell, taco flavored ground beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato. Now, these tacos are great, don't get me wrong, but I just had no idea that tacos could be more than that! Thanks to the culture of tacos here in Austin, I have been educated on this glorious staple. Breakfast tacos are now a regular part of my week. Thanks to Torchy's Tacos, Taco Deli, and the numerous taco food trucks in Austin, I now know that it's ok to load up my tacos with ingredients like fried avocados, kimchi, peaches, peanut butter, and a million crazy hot sauces. This recipe may sound strange to you considering the combination of ingredients, but I promise you, it was super tasty. Your taste buds will thank you.


Beer Braised Chicken Tacos with Apple-Pomegranate Salsa
Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 chipotle chilies in adobo, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or more or less to taste
salt and peper
1 (12 ounce) beer (I used a seasonal blue moon)
1/2 -3/4 cup enchilada sauce (homemade or store-bought)
8 warmed flour or corn tortillas, for serving
sharp cheddar cheese + cotija cheese, for serving
guacamole or avocado, for serving
Apple-Pomegranate Salsa
2 honeycrisp apples, finely chopped
arils from one small pomegranate 
1 jalapeño, seeded (if desired) + chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice from 1 lime
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)

  1. Add the chicken to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Add the garlic, minced chipotle chilies in adobo, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, brown sugar and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Toss well to combine, making sure all the chicken gets coated in seasonings.
  2. Heat a large brasier or dutch oven over medium high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and sear on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side. Reduce the heat slightly and pour in the beer. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, make the salsa. Add the chopped apple, pomegranate arils, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and maple syrup sauce to a bowl. Toss well to combine, taste and adjust if needed. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
  4. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the pot and shred with two forks. Meanwhile reduce the sauce that is left in the pot down to about 3/4 of a cup. Add the shredded chicken back to the sauce in the pot and toss. Now add the enchilada sauce and continue to cook about 2 minutes or until warmed through. 
  5. To serve, add the shredded chicken to a warmed taco shell. Top with cheddar, avocado and then the apple salsa. Sprinkle with cotija cheese and chopped cilantro. Happy taco eating!

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