Monday, November 01, 2010
BEER-MARINATED CHICKEN TACOS
Hmm. Instead of “Recipes I Was Too Lame or Indecisive to Post the First Time Around,” how about we place this in the more-adventuresome-sounding imaginary category “Lost Recipes From the Distant Past Unearthed!” I first made this recipe (from the book Weber’s Real Grilling, via Serious Eats) more than a year ago, but I was on the fence about it. It wasn’t earth-shatteringly exciting (seasoned grilled chicken on a corn tortilla with guacamole: couldn’t I have thought of that?), and the flavor had a weird, unpleasant undertone I couldn’t place. In retrospect, I think my sesame oil had gone rancid. It’s not an ingredient I use often (gotta make more wontons and dumpling soup, I guess). So I didn’t take any photos and I didn’t add the recipe to my repertoire, but I still kept it in my “try again” file, and when I recently bought a six-pack of Negra Modelo so I could pour a bottle into a pot of chili, I figured I might as well put another bottle toward trying these again—with a new batch of sesame oil. And the result was quite tasty! Even on the decidedly-not-a-real-grill George Foreman, the exterior of the chicken got crisp and caramelized while the interior stayed moist and flavorful. I still don’t find this recipe especially revelatory, but it’s a quick and easy summer (or summery) meal, and living in a household that loves tacos and guacamole and beer, I’d be foolish not to make it again.
1 cup dark Mexican beer, such as Negra Modelo
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups of your favorite guacamole
8–12 small (taco/fajita size) corn tortillas
1. Mix the first seven ingredients (through cayenne pepper) together in a large Ziplock bag or large glass or plastic bowl with a lid. Add the chicken thighs, stirring to coat. Seal the container, removing as much air as possible, and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 2–24 hours (I recommend doing it at least overnight).
2. Grill chicken until fully cooked and browned on both sides. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes, then cut into thin strips.
3. While the chicken is resting, warm tortillas on the grill (or in a dry skillet on the stove) until pliable, about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. To assemble, spread a heaping spoonful of guacamole along the middle of each tortilla, then pile with chicken slices.
Time: 30 minutes, plus 2–24 hours marinating time
Leftover potential: OK (store chicken, guacamole, and tortillas separately until ready to eat).