Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Grilled Chicken Tacos

As predicted, my grill is my new best friend.  Everything tastes better grilled, plus being outside around dusk is rather lovely in and of itself.  I used to cook so that I could eat outside in the summer; now I get to cook outside and eat outside.  These grilled chicken tacos were simple and fun to make: marinated chicken thighs, appropriate condiments, wrapped up in a flour tortilla.  The marinade was delicious: cumin, chili powder, a little cayenne, and limejuice, mixed with olive oil.  I could have eaten the chicken plain.  I suppose it was more of a glaze than a marinade, viscous and deeply colored.  I think it would have tasted great even if the chicken had just taken a quick dip in it, rather than the 30-minute soak I allowed for.
I topped the tacos with salsa, cheese, sour cream, and red cabbage.  I like the “Santa Barbara” Brand salsa.  It’s refrigerated and very fresh tasting.  My favorite is their hot salsa, but I haven’t had one that I didn’t like.  The red cabbage was both hearty and refreshing.  I was a little concerned that it was going to be too strong of a flavor, but it worked beautifully, and it’s definitely healthier and more interesting than head lettuce.  However, the red cabbage prompted me to add the sour cream.  I thought it would mix well with the cabbage and salsa, and allow the whole thing to mellow out.  I actually made an additional trip to the store once I got home because I felt it was that important.  I’m sure the tacos would have been perfectly edible without it, but it was worth the trip.  Next time, I might want to finely shred my cheese though, and possibly change the order of my layers.  Still, this was overall a delightful summer dinner.  
Grilled Chicken Tacos (makes about 6-8 tacos, loosely based on this recipe)

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
For taco assembly:
Small flour tortillas
Thinly sliced red cabbage
Shredded Monterey jack cheese
Sour cream

-       In a medium bowl (big enough to hold all of the chicken), whisk together all of the spices, and lime juice.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking as you go.
-       Add chicken and evenly distribute in marinade.  Set aside for 20-30 minutes.
-       Meanwhile prepare all taco condiments, and preheat a gas grill at medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
-       When hot, lay chicken on the grill, smooth side down, for 5-6 minutes a side.
-       When chicken is cooked through, slice it thinly for tacos.  Assemble tacos and enjoy.

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