Sunday, May 6, 2012

Crispy Chicken Tacos with Tomato Broth

Lovey's favorite thing to eat when we go to a Mexican Restaurant are Chicken Taquitos.  Cinco de Mayo was celebrated this weekend so what better time to try my hand at making them at home.  Cinco de Mayo also happens to be the theme this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs.  Right up Rick Bayless' alley.

I found a recipe for Crispy Shrimp Tacos, adapted from Rick Bayless' Fiesta at Rick's.  I substituted chicken for the shrimp since I am always striving to appease Lovey's palate.  Which is also why you won't see the Jalapeños.  I personally think these would be over the top with a little heat in them and will include them in the recipe as if I had included them.

Rick calls these tasty cylinders crispy tacos.  In the land of Tex-Mex we call them taquitos.  Out of respect of Rick's recipe (and the fact that he is an expert in Mexican cuisine and I'm not) I will call these tacos.

Main ingredients for our filling are chicken tenders, tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin, cilantro and salt

The filling is easily prepared in a large skillet.  The majority of the preparation time is cutting and chopping up all of the ingredients.  After that it all goes together quickly.  Once the filling is finished, remove it from the heat and let it cool.  Your fingers will thank you when you roll your tacos.

Rick suggests seving the tacos with a fresh tomato broth.  I'm all for sauces; especially when they are this simple; and delicious.  A good time to make the tomato broth is while the filling is cooling off.
Begin by roughly chopping onion, tomato and garlic and pureéing it in a blender.  Make it nice and smooth.  Pour the puree in a skillet with some olive oil, add your broth and let it reduce.

This broth is so over the top good and triples the goodness of the tacos.  This can be used with so many recipes.  I ate the leftovers in my dipping bowl with a spoon. 

While the broth is reducing begin heating up the vegetable oil.

You will need a heavy, large skillet or pot to deep fry the tacos.  I have a deep fat fryer but this time I'm using my cast iron chicken fryer.  It's nice and deep to easily hold the 2 inches of oil that's required.  I love it because I'm addicted to cast iron.

Forgive me for not snapping any photos of the rolling process.  Between dipping the tortillas in oil hot enough to remove skin, blotting them with paper towels, filling, rolling, and securing with toothpicks everything moved so fast I didn't have time to pick up the camera with extremely greasy fingers.

But, here they are all done!  The recipe makes 12 tacos.   Mine are a little rough looking aren't they?  I'll just have to make these again and again to perfect my technique!

Crispy Chicken Tacos with Tomato Broth
Adapted from Here

 For the Tacos
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium sweet onion
2 garlic cloves
2 Jalapeños or preferred spicy chiles
1 tsp cumin
3/4 pound tomatoes (2 medium-sized)
1 pound chicken tenders (or shrimp
3 to 4 Tbsp fresh cilantro
salt to taste
12 thin corn tortillas
vegetable oil for frying (enough to have a depth of 2" in your pan)

Mise en place:
  • chop onion into 1/4" dice
  • finely dice garlic cloves
  • seed, de-vein and finely dice jalapeños
  • cut chicken into 1/2" pieces (if using shrimp peel, de-vein and cut into 1/2" pieces)
  • chop tomatoes into 1/4" dice or run through grating disc on food processor
  • roughly chop cilantro
  • fill deep frying pan with 2" oil
  • Have a jelly roll pan ready to use for the softened tortillas, a plate to hold the rolled tacos and a plate covered with paper towels for draining the fried tacos.
In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, around 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic, chilies, and cumin and cook for another minute.  Add the chicken (see note below if using shrimp) & tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the filling reduces to a thick sauce.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Stir in cilantro and season with salt to taste.

(if using shrimp, add after the mixture has thickened and cook for only one minute before removing filling from heat).

Heat the oil to about 350 - 375°.  Grab two tortillas at a time with a pair of tongs, dip them for a few seconds in the oil to soften them.  Pat dry with paper towles and pile them into a single stack (I use a jelly roll pan for this).  With all tortillas softened, move to one side of the jelly roll pan and use the other end for your rolling surface.  Have a platter ready to set the rolled tacos on.  Spoon about 2 Tbsp of filling across the bottom of a tortilla, roll tightly and secure with toothpicks.  Place on platter.  When all tortillas are rolled you're ready for frying.

Fry the tacos in the hot oil for about 1-1/2 minutes, then turn over and fry until golden.  Drain on paper towels and serve immediatley with tomato broth.

For the Broth
3/4 pound ripe tomatoes
1/2 medium sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups chicken or shrimp broth
salt to taste

Mise en Place:
  • roughly chop tomatoes
  • roughly chop onion
  • peel and roughly chop garlic
  • meausure out broth
Place the prepped tomatoes, onion & garlic in a blender and pureé until smooth.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan.  When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a drop of the pureé, cook and stir until noticeably thicker and darker, around 5 minutes.  Add the broth, bring to a boil and simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes.  It should be somewhat runny.  Season to taste.

I'm sharing this recipe at IHCC.  Go see what everyone else made this week!


  1. Mmmm...I love the sound of this filling - so delicious! And LOL on the "name" thing. We call them tacos or flautas...but taquito simply means small taco, so it's really the same thing! Wish I had a few of these for breakfast right now.

  2. I want to eat these! They are definitely on my list of what to make soon. They look so good!

  3. Yes, yes, yes! Taquitos are my fave. Definitely adding these to my "must make" list.

  4. They look so crispy and good. I think you did a fine job rolling them but maybe a few more batches just so you are "comfortable." ;-)