Saturday, December 19, 2015

35. Creamy Poblano Chicken Tacos


If you've been following my last couple of taco recipes, you might have noticed that they took a detour into some unusual territory.  Number 33 was a coconut curry taco with mahi-mahi.  You can check that one out here.

Number 34 was a roasted carrot taco.  Yes.  It was a bit controversial.  I loved it, but I would probably recommend saving it for a time when you have some serious granola-type friends coming to dinner.  :)  Here's the recipe for that one.

Anyway, this time around, I decided to make a taco that was somewhat traditional . . . or at least used some traditional ingredients.

For some reason, I thought of sour cream-chicken enchiladas - southwestern comfort food at its finest!  Oddly enough, this recipe didn't end up containing any sour cream.  That's definitely where the inspiration came from, though.

I decided to use the boxed hard taco shells from Trader Joe's.  They're pretty good, and I haven't used them since recipe number 27 (Pavo Verde Tacos), which you can check out here.

When I was at the grocery store buying my ingredients, I suddenly had a strong premonition that these tacos would need chopped green olives.  I wanted to top them with lettuce and tomato, but I thought a briny, salty garnish would keep the top of the taco from getting too bland.  If you hate green olives, you can leave them out!

I was pretty happy with the end result!  Here's the recipe:

Creamy Poblano Chicken Tacos

Serves 4 (about 12 tacos) 


For the chicken mixture:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, generously seasoned with salt and pepper
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder
1/2 cup white wine
4 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup chicken stock

12 crunchy taco shells (I used Trader Joe's Brand.)

4 to 6 oz. medium cheddar cheese, grated

Shredded iceberg lettuce

2 to 3 chopped Roma tomatoes, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper

About 1/2 cup small pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped (optional), for garnish


1.  Start the chicken mixture:  Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken thighs and cook, turning after a few minutes, until lightly browned on both sides (about 7 or 8 minutes total).  Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate.

2.  Lower the heat to medium-low.  Add the onion to the pan and cook until softened and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add the cumin and chile powder and cook and stir until fragrant, about another minute.  Pour in the wine and stir to deglaze the pan.  Raise the heat a bit, bring to a simmer, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Add the poblano chile, salt, and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.  

3.  Return the heat to medium-low.  Add the cream cheese (cut into pieces) and the chicken stock.  Cook, stirring regularly, until the cheese melts and the mixture becomes uniform, about 10 minutes.

4.  Return the chicken thighs to the mixture, cover, and cook gently until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Remove the chicken thighs and use a fork and knife to cut/pull into small pieces.  (Usually, I'm not opposed to using my fingers, but these chicken thighs are hot and covered in sauce!)  Return the chicken pieces to the sauce and stir to combine.  Continue to simmer gently until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.  I wanted mine pretty thick - it took about 10 minutes.  Keep warm.

5.  Prepare the shells:  Preheat an oven (or toaster oven) to 375 degrees.  Place the desired number of shells on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese down the center of each one.

Toast until the cheese is melted and the shells are hot and just starting to brown - about 2 to 3 minutes.  This could vary depending on your oven, so watch them carefully.  They can go from browned to burned very quickly!

6.  Assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a shell on a plate.  Fill with a generous amount of the chicken mixture.  Top with some of the lettuce and chopped tomato.  Finish with a sprinkle of chopped green olives, if desired.  Enjoy!

These tacos really had some great flavors.  I thoroughly enjoyed them!  Steve liked them, too, though he did say that he would have liked the chicken mixture to be less "saucy".  That's fair enough.  They were pretty saucy.  These were like chicken nachos in a taco.  Sooooo decadent and good!

I have to say, I was really happy with my idea to add the cheese first (and melt it).  It seemed to seal the taco shell against the saucy filling.  I was afraid the shells would break and fall apart, but they didn't.  Yes.  That's why I added extra cheese . . . for stability.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  Ha ha.

It would be really easy to add another half pound or so of chicken thighs to change the chicken-to-sauce ratio, should you so desire.

It's funny - I didn't tell Steve what the inspiration for these tacos was.  He said, "You know, these would make really great enchiladas."


Ha ha.  Well, yes.  They would.

As much as I enjoyed these, I found this recipe to be a great jumping off point for some other ideas.  I'm picturing a southwestern biscuits and gravy recipe:  cheddar biscuits with a variation of this sauce . . . bacon on the side . . . fresh fruit salad as a token nod to clean living . . . salty dogs or mimosas . . . THIS HAS TO HAPPEN!

When this project is over, I want to write a cookbook based on all of the ideas that I have gotten from making these taco recipes.  All I need is a publisher.

. . .


Ha ha.  I would highly recommend these.  They probably won't make you lose any weight (if that's your goal), but your taste buds will be happy.  

Stay tuned.  I've already made number 36; I just need to finish the post!  Nutella and banana tacos.  Don't laugh.  They were outstanding.  :)

Please feel free to comment!  Did you try these?  What did you think?  Thanks for reading!  :)

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