Mexican Tacos – 2 Ways

TacosTacos are really the ultimate street food as they are so handy for eating on the go and can even be held in one hand! I remember hearing a TV chef, probably Nigella, say that dinner party guests, like children, are best when kept active, so something like building their own taco or adding their own pizza toppings are perfect. Plus they’ll feel like they’ve helped, even though you’ll know they didn’t and they’re doing it all wrong anyway! Just have loads of bowls of fillings around the table and let everyone dig in! The recipes for the fillings given below are really not hard at all but if you really wanted to push the boat out you could make your own salsa and guacamole (my recipes are here: salsa and  guacamole), but buy them if you’re in a rush. The salsa can be made a day or two ahead of time but the guac aught to me made as close to serving as possible or it might go brown. Also buy some preferably corn tortillas, mature cheddar, lettuce, sour cream and maybe, if you can find some, some pickled chillies. I pickled my own onions by slicing thinly and steeping in cider vinegar and a pinch of sugar for at least 1 hour before serving. Warm the tortillas in a dry frying pan one by one or lay them in a single layer on a large baking sheet or two and warm in a cool oven but do not let them colour or crisp, these should be soft tacos!

I cannot recommend a frozen margarita with these enough! Just make sure it’s frozen (blended with ice) and not on the rocks. They’re incredibly potent but a little more diluted when frozen so you’re liver will thank you the next day, though not a lot.

Tacos (and margaritas) are perfect for al fresco dining. Maybe a bit unseasonal for Ireland in January, but Spring is almost here and there is no harm in being ready for whatever whether that might bring.

Mexican Tacos 2 Ways

Ingredients

    For the Chilli-Marinated Chicken:
  • 3 ancho chillies
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 6 cloves of garlic (skins on)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 4 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • For the Pinto Beans with Chorizo:
  • 175g dried pinto beans
  • 200g cooking chorizo
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

Instructions

    For the Chicken:
  1. The day before serving, place the ancho chillies, red chilli and garlic into a dry frying pan over a high heat and toast and turn them until they char on all sides and become really aromatic. The anchos should be done first, then the garlic, then the red chilli.
  2. Next remove the stems from the ancho chillies, break them in half, place them in a small bowl and cover them with boiling water to rehydrate them for about 15 minutes.
  3. Next deseed the red chilli if you'd prefer less heat. Peel the garlic cloves and add them, plus the red chilli to the bowl of a blender or food processor.
  4. Next add the oregano, salt, vinegar and the rehydrated anchos plus a splash of they steeping liquid. Now blitz it until smooth.
  5. Now pour the marinade over the chicken. Mix it up so that all of the chicken is covered in marinade. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave it in the fridge overnight.
  6. For the Beans:
  7. The day before, weigh out 175g of pinto beans, cover them in cold water and allow to soak overnight.
  8. The next day, remove the skin from the chorizo and dice it up as small as you can, add them to a frying pan placed over a high heat and stir-fry for about 5 minutes until the juices have rendered out and it is starting to crisp.
  9. Next add in the drained pinto beans, stir-fry for 2 minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes and one tin of water. Turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer and bubble for about 2-2.5 hours or until the beans are soft. These can be made ahead and warmed up before serving.
  10. For the Chicken:
  11. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  12. Add the chicken thighs to a baking tray and roast for 30-35 minutes.
  13. Take them out and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before you slice them and transfer them to a serving bowl and keep them somewhere warm until serving.
  14. I served these with warm corn tortillas, my homemade salsa and guacamole, grated cheddar, sour cream, torn cos lettuce and pickled onions, and let everyone assemble their own.
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