Vegetarian Chicken Soft Tacos [Bonus: Pork Tacos]

[Note: This is the post that planted the seed that led to Two Dudes Foods.]

From: Daniel Larkin
Date: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 7:56 PM
Subject:
Today I share the secret
To: “jamey w. bennett”

After years of blindly making this recipe, I finally measured the ingredients for my chicken soft tacos.  I figured you should be the first person I share the recipe with.  If anyone can give me constructive feedback on my taco recipe, it’s you – the taco guy.  I make these veggie-style, using Quorn Naked Cutlets.  I’ve never made them with real chicken, but if I had to, I would first try using left-over chicken (fully cooked) shredded as thinly as possible.

I chop the Naked Cutlets into thin strips, lay them flat, and chop again until the pieces resemble shredded chicken like you expect to see in Mexican restaurant.  If you can find the Naked Cutlets in Philly, I would recommend this as a meat-free meal.  I know you could use a little taco in your meat fasting days.

So here it goes.

  • 6 oz chicken (this translates into 3 Naked Cutlets) finely shredded as mentioned above.
  • 8 oz can of no salt added tomato sauce
  • 4 oz orange juice.  (I measure this in the empty 8 oz tomato sauce can)
  • 4 oz water
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Squirt of lemon or lime juice
  • Chopped cilantro

Jenny’s not a fan of overly overly-spicy foods, so these are super low on the heat scale.  But you can heat them up with cayenne and red pepper flakes, or by tossing a few Jalapenos in the marinade.

Marinate the chicken in all ingredients (except cilantro and lemon/lime juice) for at least 30 minutes.

Bring the mix to a boil, and simmer covered on low for 5 or 10 minutes.
Remove lid and simmer for another 15 minutes – until sauce has thickened or soaked into meat.

Toss in some chopped cilantro and squeeze in lemon/lime juice, and viola!

Let me know how it goes.  I would love the feedback.

from Jamey W. Bennett
to Daniel Larkin

Dude,

I am eating the most amazing pulled pork tacos ever. I still haven’t made your faux chicken tacos, but you inspired this. I sauteed onions and jalapenos in olive oil, added precooked pulled pork and cilantro, then poured 100% mango-orange juice over it and cooked it until excess liquid was gone. Added to whole wheat tortillas (which I briefly browned in a skillet), added sour cream, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, and homemade salsa. INCREDIBLE!

Jamey

Fritters with Pineapple Salsa

from Daniel Larkin
to jamey w. bennett

OK, one of my favorite new side items is Fritters with Pineapple salsa. So here’s a brief overview of my recipes.

Salsa: 
Two pasilla (or poblano) peppers
One Anaheim pepper
One jalapeno pepper
One red onion (I roasted it whole, but I really only used the outer half, which had roasted most)
Half head of garlic
Six Tomatoes
Approximately half a pineapple cut into round slices – it looks like too much, but it isn’t.
One small can of tomato sauce
A small bunch of fresh basil chopped

Roast all of the fresh items on the grill, setting each one into a covered pot to rest as they finish. After the last item goes into the pot, let them all sit for at least 10 minutes. Skin and deseed peppers and tomatoes. Spread the tomatoes over the cutting board and work with a knife until it’s fairly smooth but has some chunkiness to it. Chop peppers and onion to small squares. I chopped the pineapple to various sizes – smaller sizes for flavor and larger sizes for taste and texture. Pinch the garlic cloves from their skins and mash/chop.

Mix all of the mess in a pot with salt and tomato sauce and simmer (not boil) for five minutes – just to mix the flavors. At the end of the five minutes, add the basil and a touch of olive oil and red wine vinegar. It’s good fresh, but it’s fantastic after a night in the fridge.

Fritters:
One large and one small squash – approximately 1-1/2 cups shredded with the large grates of a cheese grater.
Kernels from two ears of corn – I ended up with one cup. (I steamed the kernels for a few minutes, but I don’t know how necessary this is.)
Two finely chopped jalapenos
Enough shredded cheddar to be good – I made no measurements for this, but you’ll know how much is enough.
1/2 cup of flour – plus a little bit more
Two eggs
Pinch of baking powder
Splash of milk
Salt, pepper, paprika

Mix all ingredients. Fill a cooking pan with enough oil to halfway cover a “pancake” of the mix. Fry away, but keep it covered with a screen because we had a few kernels pop on us.

Top with the salsa.

Holy shit, dude. These are fantastic.