Chicken Tacos

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Our food editor here at the television show is Lucinda Quinn. And she was telling me that she cooks three meals a day for five people every single day. And she’s always looking for quick solutions* that kids will love. Three boys!  So, she said chicken tacos, absolutely a no-brainer*.

I’m going to cook a whole chicken. This is a nice, fresh chicken. I’m going to make a stock*. I’m putting the whole chicken right into a pot. I’m going to add water to cover (it). Oh, about eight cups of water. And Lucinda says, the broth that’s left is soup for tomorrow. The chicken is for the tacos tonight.

To the pot, add one onion that is peeled and halved. Some garlic cloves. Two’s good. Some black peppercorns.  And, as I said, the water to cover. Now bring this to a boil, and then simmer 50 to 60 minutes. I’ll just leave the heat high until we’re ready, and we have one already simmered right here.  Looks good.   

I’m going to remove it from the broth. And now, of course, you can just add whatever you want to the broth. You can add vegetables. You can add pasta…spinach. Make it delicious egg-drop soup.

We have some romaine lettuce in the refrigerator and some radishes, essential ingredients to a taco dinner. (The) romaine is all washed. We’re going to cut that up. It’s very easy to shred if

you just lift it up in little piles. And I think two piles will do.

And now the radishes, you want to slice the radishes really thinly. And these are just beautiful radishes. And you kind of do this by hand like this. But if you worry about your fingertips, it’s a good idea to wear one of these protective gloves. And you can just slice very quickly.  And you want to slice about twelve radishes. And see, you have to become fearless with this glove on. You think, oh my gosh. But it really does protect your fingers. That looks like enough radishes.

And now we’ll add these to the lettuce. And then we’ll add the dressing. Just a simple dressing, and you don’t have to mix it up in a separate bowl or anything. Just put it right in here. I’d say about one-and-a-half (1 ½ ) tablespoons of vegetable oil and about two teaspoons of white vinegar. One-and-a-half tablespoons. One…and a half. And a little bit of coarse salt…and black pepper.

Now we have some wonderful cheese in the refrigerator drawer, some queso blanco. (Note: Spanish for white cheese) Look at this gorgeous cheese! Now this has to be crumbled. It’s almost like a cottage cheese when you crumble it. It’s queso fresco, meaning fresh cheese. It’s a white, slightly salty, fresh Mexican cheese. And you can get it in a gourmet store. And when it’s heated it holds its shape, very similar to American farmer’s cheese.

And we have a wonderful salsa crude. (Note Spanish for raw sauce)  It’s made with fresh tomatoes cut into (one-)third inch pieces, small white onion cut into quarter inch pieces, serrano peppers – or jalapeño peppers would be just fine – chopped. And you just want two or so of those. Not too, not too spicy. The kids don’t want too much heat in their tacos.  Two to three tablespoons of coarsely chopped cilantro, nice coarse salt.

So, here we have our cheese. And now all that’s left really is to shred the chicken and toast the tortillas. And now we can take our chicken apart. We don’t want any skin. Oh, it’s just cooked perfectly. Take that meat and just shred it, tear it. Very, very tender. This is the same way you would cook a chicken for a chicken salad.

And really, think about the kids when you are making these easy suppers what they really love.  And then, make it healthy, just like this. In our new magazine, Martha Stewart Kids, there are lots of great suggestions for children’s menus. Menus that’ll keep them happy, keep them curious.

So, once your chicken is all shredded, and you have all your bowls of beautiful ingredients ready to go. And now we have to toast those tortillas. It helps if you have a gas burner. (Note: it’s possible to do this in a frying pan with a very small amount of oil over an electric burner.) and you just toast these right over the gas burner…about a few seconds on one side. Turn it over. And you want to get the edges a little bit black.

I have this terrific early American covered dish that really was for a pie. But it is great for steaming the tortillas. See how they get black around the edges? Just perfect. And you put these in here, and they kind of steam. And now let’s assemble the taco. Keep these covered until you’re ready.

And of course we are using fiesta plates. These colorful plates, fiestaware. These were my grandmother’s. And they’re just so appropriate for a taco supper.

So, you put on…one taco on each plate. Now, you don’t have to do this for your guest or your family. Let them do their own. A little bit of the queso fresco, some of the lovely salad, and some shreds of chicken, a little bit of this lovely salsa, and you have a really quick and healthy and delicious meal for you and your family. A little lime wedge, and you have the perfect summer dinner. Care-free, easy and ultra-delicious.

 *Notes:

Solution – a good option for a meal.

No-brainer – something that is understood without thinking about it.

Stock – water that has had meat and or vegetables and seasoning boiled in it.

 

 

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