Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Spicy Chicken Creamy Cucumber Tostada


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The cucumber salad used to dress this tostada makes it an all star. The salad is absolutely delicious on its own, here it acts as a balance to the spicy chipotle chicken.

I used McCormick chipotle chili powder and when compared to their normal chili powder, the chipotle is off the scale as far as heat. I ate a spoonful of the chicken by itself to check the flavor and it literally made me cough – needless to say, the chicken has some kick. That's all neutralized by the cucumber salad though, it compliments the chipotle just perfectly and it allows the flavors to stand out and not be overtaken by the heat. The spice is there but the creamy ranch swoops in to tame the fire before it can set the tongue a blaze.

The end result is an absolute show stopper. If I owned a restaurant or food truck I would use this cucumber-ranch-chipotle combo in some sort of way on the menu.

It’s a winner.

BEHIND THIS BITE
Spicy Chicken Creamy Cucumber Tostada

I was so impressed by this cucumber salad that I have made three dishes with it. This dish is made from the leftovers from the first time I made it. The next dish it will appear in features a fresh batch, but that is for another post. I'm really impressed by its flavor and have just went crazy with it. When you have a winner you ride it to the championship! This cucumber salad is the Walter Payton of my kitchen right now.

I have found over three years of writing my food column that when you have something that works it’s best to go with it and see where you can take it. Eventually you’ll get tired of it but by building on flavors you can really get creative and make some outstanding stuff that is really original. I wish I could do that with every single thing I make, but for now I’ll pick and choose what I can go crazy on. This happened to be coast effective and plentiful enough to go the extra mile.

I wish ribeye were as cheap as cucumbers - that would be an experiment I could never get tired of!

Eat well, cook often ...

THE RECIPE
Spicy Chicken Creamy Cucumber Tostada

Serves 4 to 6; 35 minutes
5 Cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 C Red onion, diced
1 pkg Ranch seasoning
1/2 C Sour cream
1/2 C Mayonnaise
1/4 C Pickle brine, strained from jar of bread and butter pickles
1 lb Ground chicken
1 tsp Onion powder
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 Tbs Chipotle chili powder
12 Tostadas
2 C Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
3/4 C Lettuce shredded
1/2 C Cherry tomatoes halved

Mix together
In a large bowl, mix together cucumber, onion, ranch seasoning, sour cream, mayo and pickle juice until thoroughly combined.

Cook chicken
In a sauté pan over medium heat cook chicken in a little olive oil until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir and break up chunks while cooking, mix in chipotle, onion and garlic powder half way through.

Finish
In batches, place tostadas on a baking sheet with a spoonful of chicken and cheese. Cook in a preheated 400° oven until cheese is melted and tostadas crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and garnish with lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad.
Then serve.

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