Crispy Fried Tacos with Salsa Verde
By Paula DeenJUMP TO RECIPE
- 4 lbs with skin and bones chicken breasts
- 5 cloves smashed, plus 1 for salsa garlic
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon divided kosher salt
- 2 lbs skinned roma tomatoes
- 2 whole cloves
- 8 black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped, plus 1 cup chopped for salsa white onion
- 2 tablespoons (or safflower oil) corn oil
- for frying canola oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 10 heated corn tortillas
- 1/2 cup chopped, plus more for garnish fresh cilantro
- 1 1/2 lbs husks removed tomatillos
- 1 more or less, optional serrano chile
- grated or cojita cheese, optional queso fresco
Rinse chicken breast in cold water and add to a large pot. Cover with water and add 4 smashed garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Shred the chicken when it is cool enough to handle. Set aside 4 cups of chicken.
Put the tomatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until cooked through and soft, about 15 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a blender along with the remaining tablespoon of salt, whole cloves, peppercorns, white onion and remaining garlic clove. Puree until smooth.
Add 2 tablespoons of corn oil to a large pan, over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tomato puree, bay leaves and the shredded chicken and stir. Simmer until the mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and bread crumbs and simmer until mixture has thickened again, about 4 to 5 more minutes. Mixture will be moist but not too wet, which will be perfect for filling the tacos.
Preheat the canola oil in a deep-fryer to 350 °F.
Heat the tortillas on a hot comal or dry skillet over medium heat for a minute. This will prevent them from breaking when rolling into a taco. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of the filling on each tortilla and roll.
You can insert wooden toothpicks through 2 tacos at a time, so they will fry evenly and hold their shape. Once the oil is hot, dip the taco pairs in the hot oil. Fry until the tacos have crisped and gained a golden color, about 2 to 3 minutes. You may want to flip for another minute to the other side. Remove from the oil and put on a plate or tray covered with paper towels. Arrange the tacos on a serving platter and garnish with cilantro.
Serve alongside Salsa Verde Pueblera.
Cook’s Note: If you don’t want to fry the tacos, roll them, and toast them over a hot comal or dry skillet. Toast and turn until they are crisp enough to your liking. It will take about 5 minutes per side.
Salsa Verde Pueblera:
Rinse the tomatillos under cold water. Put them in a pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, until their color has changed and they are cooked and soft but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomatillos to a blender along with the chile, the garlic clove and a teaspoon of salt. Puree until smooth. Stir in the chopped cilantro and onion. Taste for salt and add more, if necessary. Pour into a serving bowl and garnish with cheese, if desired.