Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos

Hiver 2015
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food and drink

BY: Jennifer MacKenzie

This is a perfect potluck dish, as it’s easy to make, the flavours benefit from being made ahead, and it’s quick to reheat before serving. The assembly at the buffet allows diners to dress their taco just the way they like it and adds a freshness you don’t get with casseroles. With one jalapeño in the chicken filling and just a dash of hot pepper sauce in the slaw, this is mild enough for any crowd. If you want to increase the heat, use two jalapeños and serve a bottle of hot sauce on the side for those who wish to add even more pep.

3½ lbs (1.75 kg) bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (about 12)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) chili powder
1½ tsp (7 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
1 bottle (341 mL) ale or pale ale
1 cup (250 mL) drained canned diced tomatoes
½ cup (125 mL) sour cream
Grated zest of 1 lime
⅓ cup (80 mL) fresh lime juice
4 cups (1 L) shredded green cabbage
½ sweet red pepper, thinly sliced
½ sweet yellow pepper, thinly sliced
Hot pepper sauce
16 small corn or flour tortillas

1 Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken, in batches as necessary, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl.

2 Reduce heat to medium-low. Sauté onion for about 3 minutes or until starting to soften. Add garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin and oregano and sauté for 2 minutes or until onion is soft. Add ale and tomatoes, increase heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits stuck to pan.

3 Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, flipping chicken pieces halfway, or until chicken is very tender. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a bowl and let cool slightly.

4 Return sauce to medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until reduced slightly.

5 Meanwhile, remove bones from chicken and shred meat. If making ahead, let sauce and chicken cool separately, then combine in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. If not making ahead, return chicken to sauce in pan.

6 For the slaw, combine sour cream, lime zest and 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the lime juice in a large bowl. Add cabbage and red and yellow peppers. Toss to coat. Season with salt and hot pepper sauce to taste. Cover and refrigerate until serving, for up to 4 hours.

7 Just before serving, return chicken in sauce to a large saucepan or skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until heated through. Stir in remaining lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and keep hot or transfer to a chafing dish, a slow cooker set on warm or low, or a heated serving dish.

8 Warm tortillas in a dry skillet over medium heat, stacking and wrapping with foil to keep them warm, or warm them in the oven according to package directions.

9 Set out hot chicken filling, cabbage slaw and warmed tortillas with utensils for diners to assemble tacos.

Serves 8