Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos | May 11, 2010

My husband loves my cooking, to be sure.  However, I always solicit constructive feedback when I try a new recipe – and he can usually come up with something that he feels would make the dish better.  Sometimes his comments are as simple as, “I think this needs more salt,” and other times he comes up with elaborate ways to enhance the flavors and textures (he may not cook, but he knows food).

So, imagine my surprise when this dish resulted in NO criticism whatsoever.  When I asked if there was anything that should be tweaked or changed, the result was dead silence (well, actually, it was more like chewing noises).  Both my husband and I agreed that the meal was perfect as-is, and that the only thing that could improve it would be homemade corn tortillas (and lo and behold, a tortilla press arrived in my mailbox a few short days later…).

The original recipe from Food and Wine called for turkey, but there was none of that to be found (and I tried Kroger, Publix, Whole Foods, and Fresh Market).  Bone-in chicken worked perfectly, and don’t be afraid of the dark meat!  With the skin and fat trimmed, it ain’t gonna hurt ya.  And it’s so tasty!  I can’t wait to make this again – it’s a bit time-consuming (all braised meats are), but it is totally worth it.  Enjoy!

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Two pounds bone-in chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, skin and fat removed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, cut into 1-inch dice, plus minced red onion, for serving
  • 1 large oregano sprig
  • 1 large jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 poblano chile, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped or torn
  • One 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • One 12-ounce bottle Mexican dark beer, such as Negro Modelo
  • 1 cup water
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Chopped cilantro, for serving

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until richly browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the casserole along with the garlic, diced onion, oregano, and jalapeño and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato, poblano, and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, until the tomato releases its juices.

Return the chicken to the casserole, add the beer and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat, turning once, until the chicken thighs are tender, about 1 hour. Transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool. Discard the oregano sprig and cinnamon stick and boil the sauce over high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 12 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350. Wrap the tortillas in foil and bake for about 8 minutes, until softened and heated through. Remove the chicken meat and shred it. Transfer the sauce to a food processor and puree. Return the sauce to the pot and stir in the shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the chicken onto the tortillas. Top with minced onion and cilantro sprigs and serve.


  1. there is nothing better than the results of “low and slow” cooking… and I am just a bit jealous of your tortilla press.

    Comment by restaurant refugee — May 12, 2010 @ 2:38 am

  2. Don’t be jealous of my press until I use it! I will hopefully be breaking it in this weekend. And you can easily have one of your very own – honestly, shipping cost more than the press itself.

    Comment by bettyjoan — May 13, 2010 @ 11:11 am

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