Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Creole Chicken and Spicy Slaw Tacos


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I made Creole seasoning last week that contained the peppery heat found in the cooking associated with New Orleans and the surrounding Bayou. I added cumin and chili powder also, giving it a hint of Southwest.

I used it to season chicken tenders that were intended for tacos. To continue with a Southern theme, I wanted to pair the chicken with a coleslaw. Like the Creole seasoning, I thought it would be fun to mix the South with the Southwest, and instead of vinegar as the acidic element in the coleslaw I used lime juice. To add heat, I sliced jalapeños paper thin on a mandolin and tossed them into the mix, followed by fresh chopped cilantro.

It resulted in a creamy, crunchy and spicy topping for the taco that complimented the peppery chicken. Just to take it over the top (and add extra creaminess) I threw in a couple of slices of avocado.

Any fan of gourmet tacos should try this recipe. I personally couldn't get enough. Beware though, these babies have some kick!

BEHIND THIS BITE

I pigged out on these.

I must have looked like a starving pit bull who had just discovered how to get under the fence of a busy chicken coup. I’m glad I ate these in the confines of my office and not in front of any family members, the kids would have been traumatized. These tacos have all the things I love about good tacos - heat, texture and a little messy. Not chicken wings messy, but definitely not an eat-while-driving type of dish.

The cilantro-lime and jalapeño flavor of the slaw really did compliment the peppery heat of the chicken. I worried they would compete but the combination worked, and I was proud enough to give this taco an official name.

The South by Southwest Taco

Eat well, cook often ...

THE RECIPE
Makes 10 to 12 tacos; 1 hour
1 1/4 lb Chicken tenders
2 Tbs Creole seasoning
3 C Cabbage mix
1/2 C Cilantro, chopped
2 Jalapeños, thin sliced
1/3 C Mayo
Juice and zest of 1 Lime
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
20 to 24 Corn tortillas (2 per taco)
3 Avocados, sliced

Season, grill chicken
Liberally sprinkle creole seasoning on both sides of chicken tenders. Let marinate 30 minutes. Grill until cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Let rest 10 minutes, then slice.

Make slaw, assemble
Combine cabbage mixture, Cilantro, Jalapeño, mayo, Lime juice and zest, sugar and season to taste. Heat tortillas for 1 minute in microwave, top with avocado, chicken and slaw. Fold and eat. 

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