Saturday, December 5, 2015

31. Chicken-Bacon-Double Ranch Tacos


Sometimes, the inspiration for my taco recipes comes from items that I know I have in the refrigerator that need to be eaten.

On my way home from school, I was frantically trying to think of a taco to get me one step closer to my goal of 100 recipes in a year.  I'm usually pretty busy during the day, so I didn't have much time to think until my drive home.  It takes me about 15 minutes to get to the grocery store, so I started racking my brain . . .

Bacon!  I remembered a pack of bacon that I had opened for my last recipe.  I had only used a few slices of it.  Hmmm.  What goes with bacon?  I couldn't do BLT tacos - I've already done that.  You can check those out here!  (They were delicious!)

I finally thought of chicken.  And ranch.  That's a thing, right?  Chicken/bacon/ranch?  It seems like that combination pops up a lot - maybe not the trendiest thing out there, but what's not to like?  YES!  The details of the idea fell into place during the remaining minutes of my drive.  I decided to cook a couple of chicken breast halves in my stovetop smoker and make a homemade ranch dressing.  Then . . . another light bulb!  I thought of a nostalgic, slightly goofy addition.  For some reason, the canned ranch style beans that I liked as a kid came to mind.  We used to eat them quite often alongside a steak or a hamburger patty.  I thought they were delicious, but I haven't bought them in years.

Well, what could be better than ranch on tacos?  DOUBLE RANCH!

I've used my stovetop smoker before in other taco recipes:  one featuring tuna and the other mushrooms!  I would highly recommend getting one for your kitchen!  We have the Cameron brand and we love it!  Here's a link to buy it from Amazon.  It's very easy to use, too.  (By the way, I am not affiliated with Cameron.  I just think it's a great product!)  :)

If you don't have one, don't worry - you can still make this!  After seasoning the chicken breasts, you could grill them and they would still be tasty.  You could even boil the chicken in salted water - as long as it gets cooked, seasoned, and shredded, it should work!

Anyway, this was a tasty, fairly easy weeknight taco.  Here's the recipe!  :)

Chicken-Bacon-Double Ranch Tacos

Serves 4-6 (about 8-12 tacos) with extra dressing


8 slices of high-quality bacon (about 8 oz.)

For the chicken:

2 organic skinless/boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb.)
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the ranch dressing:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp. chopped chives
1 tsp. Cholula, or a hot sauce of your choice
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

One 15 oz. can ranch-style beans

Because you know we love "real western flavor" here in Arizona.  ;)
12 to 24 corn tortillas, depending on whether you want to double them up

A few large leaves of romaine lettuce, thinly sliced

2 to 3 chopped roma tomatoes, for garnish

Chopped chives, for garnish (optional)

1.   Cook the bacon:  Line a large baking sheet with foil and arrange the slices in a single layer.  Place into a cold oven and turn it to about 380 degrees.  Cook the bacon for about 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp; the cooking time can vary with the thickness of the slices.  Drain the bacon on paper towels.

2.  While the bacon is cooking, start the chicken:  Season the chicken breasts with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Smoke in a stovetop smoker for about 20 minutes or until just done.  (You can use another cooking method if you wish - it will still be good!)  Allow to cool.  When cool enough to handle, shred into large pieces with a knife and fork or your fingers.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.  Cover and set aside.

3.  While the chicken is cooking, make the dressing:  Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.  (Alternately, you can blend the mixture in a regular blender.)  Cover and set aside.

4.  Heat the beans in a small saucepan over medium heat.

5.  While the beans are heating, prepare the tortillas:  Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, one by one, until browned but still soft, about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.  As the tortillas are done, stack them on a sheet of foil.  When they are all finished, wrap them in the foil.  You can keep them warm in a 250 degree oven if you wish.

6.  When all the components are ready, assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a tortilla on a plate.  (If your tortillas are thin, as mine were, double them up!)  Top with some of the shredded chicken.  Add a small spoonful of the beans (use a slotted spoon to avoid excess liquid).  Add some shredded lettuce and some of the bacon.  I used about a slice for each taco (broken into pieces).  Sprinkle with chopped tomato and then drizzle on a generous amount of the ranch dressing.  Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh chives, if you wish.  Enjoy!

Ha ha.  Well.  The double-ranch thing may have been a bit of a gimmick, but it worked out pretty well.  I don't know that the addition of the ranch-style beans "made" the taco, but it certainly didn't hurt.  I thought they were tasty, but subtle.  Ranch-style beans in a can are not bad, but they're not quite as good as I remember.  Would this recipe be better with homemade, seasoned pinto beans?  Probably.  I'm all for doing that - it's easy to cook a pot of beans, but the timing just wasn't going to work out, considering that I started making these at about 6:30 pm.

I'm also discovering that, with sixty-nine recipes left to go, gimmicky ideas are not all bad.  Ha ha.

Steve also gave these a thumbs up.  We're not usually big fans of chicken breasts.  We'll choose thighs or drumsticks every time, but the smoker really made these delicious!  They had a lot of flavor and they stayed juicy!  I can't recommend that thing enough!

The dressing was great.  There was quite a bit left, and we ate it on a salad the next day.  I don't see extra ranch dressing as a problem at all!

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Do you have any nostalgic feelings about ranch-style beans or am I the only one?  Ha ha.  Did you try the tacos?  What did you think?

Thanks for reading!  :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you think! Please comment! :)