Thursday, March 10, 2016

53. Southwest Chicken Salad Tacos with Jalapeño and Smoked Almonds

53. Southwestern Chicken Salad Tacos with Jalapeño and Smoked Almonds Collage

It's been a struggle to think about creating any more taco recipes over the last week or so.  It was an extremely busy week at work (we had our midterm concert), and that demanded all of my attention.  I have to admit - it's been so much fun working on this blog and coming up with new things.  It's also easy, while I'm doing that, to get distracted from everything else!

In short, I knew that my students were more important this week.

Well.  They're always more important.  What can I say?  :)

Things went well, and it's now spring break!  What does all of this mean?  Well, it means that I might need to play catch-up a bit.

Tacos.  Lots and lots of tacos!  If I'm actually going to reach my goal of 100 recipes in a year, I have to pick up the pace a bit.  Otherwise, we'll be eating tacos every DAY once school is out.  No.  That can't happen.  O.O

Anyway, these are good.  They're pretty easy to make.  I think they work well at room temperature.  They would also be good cold, as long as the tortillas are soft and fresh.

I got the basic idea for this recipe from a delicious chicken salad recipe that I found online a couple of years ago when I was looking for bridal shower recipes.  The addition of smoked almonds really made it special!  Here's the original version, though I modified it quite a bit:

Chicken salad is kind of a strange taco filling.  To make it work, I decided to give it a southwestern twist.  Think of this as a cross between a taco and a chicken salad sandwich.  It might be a little different, but it's delicious!  

Here's the recipe!  :)

Southwest Chicken Salad Tacos with Jalapeño and Smoked Almonds

Serves 4 (about 8 tacos)


For the southwest chicken salad:

2 cups chicken broth or water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb.)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup smoked almonds (such as Blue Diamond), chopped
1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin

53. Southhicken Salad Tacos with Jalapeño and Smoked Almonds Ingredients

8 small flour tortillas

4 slices of provolone cheese

Provolone Cheese Slices for Chicken Salad Tacos

A few leaves of green leaf lettuce, thinly sliced

Sliced Green Leaf Lettuce for Chicken Salad Tacos

One large tomato, chopped and seasoned with salt and pepper

Chopped Tomatoes for Chicken Salad Tacos

Lime slices, for garnish (optional)

1.  Cook the chicken:  Place the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the chicken breasts.  Lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until just barely done.

Poached Chicken for Southwestern Chicken Salad Tacos with Jalapeño and Smoked Almonds
Obviously, this is not just barely done!  These had only been in for about a minute!  :)
Remove from the heat, uncover, and allow to cool in the broth for about 20 minutes.  Shred or chop the chicken into small pieces, season with the salt and pepper, and set aside to cool completely.

2.  Finish the chicken salad:  Combine the seasoned, cooled chicken along with the remaining chicken salad ingredients in a medium bowl.  Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.  Cover and set aside.

Southwestern Chicken Salad with Jalapeño and Smoked Almonds

3.  Prepare the tortillas:  Place four tortillas on each of two baking sheets.  Top each with a half slice of provolone cheese (placed on one side).  Place each baking sheet (one at a time) under the broiler, slightly toasting the tortilla and melting the cheese.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Tortillas and Melted Cheese for Chicken Salad Tacos

4.  When all the components are ready, assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a tortilla on a plate.  Spoon some of the chicken salad on one side of the tortilla, opposite the melted cheese.  Cover the cheese with a small amount of lettuce and tomato.  Garnish with a small squeeze of lime.  Enjoy!

53. Southwestern Chicken Salad Tacos with Jalapeño and Smoked Almonds

So, there you have it!  I had originally intended to make these for lunch and take them to work this week.  It would have been interesting to see how they held up for a few hours.  I really think they would have been fine, but I just didn't have the time or energy to make it happen.

Steve and I both agreed that these seem more like lunch fare, but they still made a delicious dinner!

I loved the chicken salad.  I was really happy with it.  The southwestern kick was slight.  It would be easy to add more cumin and chile powder, but I appreciated the subtlety.

I was rather disappointed with the jalapeño I bought, but that's not the recipe's fault.  Is it just me, or do the largest jalapeños have the least amount of heat?  I would have liked more spice.  You may want to taste your pepper first and adjust accordingly!

Well, I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow!   I'm not going to lie though.  I may just put the chicken on some bread and call it a chicken salad sandwich.  Ha ha.  These days, I only eat tortillas if I have to!

The chicken salad would also be great on a green salad or spinach salad if you don't want the carbs from the tortillas.  It's good any way you look at it!

53. Southwestern Chicken Salad Tacos with Jalapeño and Smoked Almonds

Well, these were a success!  I'm going to keep this post short and focus on moving forward.  Onward and upward!

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Do you find those smoked almonds as addictive as I do?  Did you try the tacos?  What did you think?

Thanks for reading!

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