I tried a new method for cooking chicken this weekend. Saw it on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, one of favorite my Food Network shows. Pam, a Trinidadian woman living in Seattle, cooked her version of jambalaya, and even Guy was a bit intrigued. She started by browning sugar… yeah, sugar. And by browning, I mean she pretty much burnt it. I didn’t go that far, fearful of a gross overcooked sugar taste, but I gave it a good 3 minutes, and I’m gonna chalk up the deep flavor of this dish to it, so don’t skimp.
I built upon this layer of flavor by browning seasoned chicken thighs, then deglazing the pan with orange juice. Freshly squeezed if you may.
Onions, garlic and jalapeno joined the party, and a bit of water to mellow everybody out.
Oh yeah, and a few springs of cilantro for that Peruvian flair I love so much. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer. Leave it for an hour and you’ll find this.
Enjoy as is, ahhh, such tenderness splendor. The broth is totally drinkable, and only slightly spicy.
Or you could use two forks and make pulled chicken. Then reduce said liquid down and top pulled chicken tacos with it, along with some fire roasted (or oven broiled, whatever), salsa.
Or serve with roasted potatoes and onions. I may or may not have tried all three and can barely pick a winner. Weekends have that indulging affect on me. Along with football. What can I say, I’m a stressful eater, and Michigan football needs to put me at ease ASAP before I devour a pound of chicken every Saturday afternoon from here ’till Thanksgiving.
If I had to choose, the tacos win, there’s something about all the complimentary components of tacos (avocado, salsa, lime, chicken, fresh raw corn, etc.) that beats all others.
Let me know what you think!
Pulled Chicken Tacos
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients (4-6 servings)
- 1 3/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, seasoned with sea salt- total recipe calls for 1 Tbsp, freshly ground black pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder
- 3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 small onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 c. freshly squeezed orange juice (~3 oranges)
- 3 c. filtered water
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 jalapeno, halved
- 3-4 sprigs cilantro
Start by heating oil in a large pot (preferably cast iron) with sugar over medium high heat. Stir occasionally for about 3-5 minutes, be careful, you don’t want it to burn, but get a nice sear on it.
Add seasoned chicken, and let it sear for about 4 minutes, then stir up the pot and let it cook on the other side for another 3 minutes or so. Add the onions and garlic, cook for another 2 minutes, then deglaze the pot with orange juice, use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the water, jalapeno, remaining salt and bring to a bubble.
Cover and reduce heat to low, cook for 1 hour.
Eat chicken with broth, over rice, potatoes, or add some pasta for a impromptu soup.
Optional, but delicious, remove chicken and cook sauce, uncovered, on medium heat, until it reduces by half. Enjoy reduced sauce over chicken, on tacos, or any other side, it’s delicious. (I didn’t eat the jalapeno, or cilantro springs, but you’re welcome to try.)