Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kids Make Chicken Tacos

Here's an excellent use for the leftover chicken in your refrigerator: Roll it up in a taco with fresh salsa, cheese and lettuce for a snack or an easy, healthful meal.

After many months of practice, it is astounding to see the cutting skills the kids in our "food appreciation" classes have learned as they prepped the vegetables for this lesson. They made quick work of the tomatoes and onions in the salsa and were soon on to the chicken.

Originally I had proposed this dish a "Guatemalan burrito" as we continue our way south on our virtual world food tour. But when someone asked "What makes it Guatemalan?" I didn't have a very good explanation. In fact, for the life of me I couldn't find a standout Gautemalan food. Perhaps a reader will point me to one.

More than anything, this taco is typical of what you might see in any fonda or food stall in Mexico, or throughout Central America, for that matter. We used corn tortillas, not flour. The tortillas labeled as "Salvadoran" in our markets here in the District of Columbia seem to be much thicker and would probably hold together better in the eating.

Yet simple and convenient it is. If you don't have leftover chicken, simply bake two chicken breasts or thighs in the oven and set them aside to cool. Meanwhile, make a fresh salsa by cutting two or three ripe plum tomatoes into small dice. Toss in a bowl with 1/4 cup diced onion and a small fistful of cilantro leaves. Stir in a squeeze of lime and season with salt.

Tear the chicken into small pieces or cut it into small strips. Next, shred about 1 cup lettuce. Crumble about 2 ounces queso fresco, or fresh cheese. Present the chicken the fresh vegetables and the cheese at the table along with a plate of warm tortillas. Let everyone build their own taco. You might also have some crema, or sour cream, on the side as a further garnish.

I'll bet you can't eat just one.


grace said...

Ed, I consulted with my friend who was in Peace Corps in Guatemala, and he names the following as "Standout foods": chuchitos, tamales, paches (all variations on the same thing), kaq'ik (turkey stew - very good), pepian, heaps of beans and tortillas with chirmol, churrasco, good fruit shakes. And we decided - we want to be on the virtual food tour, too! :)

Ed Bruske said...

Grace, thank you so much for the consult. Will that save me the expense of tracking down a Guatemalan cookbook? Now all I have to do is find out what all those things are. This week I think we are moving on to Salvador. We are welcome to join us....

grace said...

I forgot to mention that I found a Guatemalan cookbook at MLK library - it's on my desk for you to look at next time you come in.