Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mexican Street Food Cooking Class

Yesterday I joined a lovely group of women from RAF Lakenheath for a cooking class at Jamie Oliver's restaurant, in London. We learned how to cook a few quintessential Mexican street foods: ceviche, salsa verde, shredded chicken tacos and gorditas. Sadly, the naked chef himself was not in attendance. But our instructor, Jen, was a charming and knowledgeable substitute. 

We worked in pairs, and I lucked out with Beth because she fried the gorditas--not my favorite--and let me chop and mince all of the fresh things for our salsa verde and ceviche. Bonus, she likes her Mexican food fiery too, so we adjusted the spice to our taste. 

Our ceviche was overcooked by the time we enjoyed it--think marinated rubber bands and you get the idea--but the shredded chicken tacos turned out beautifully, especially topped with the salsa verde. And what kind of a food blogger would I be if I didn't share the recipes with you? A mean one. And I'm not mean. At least not very often.

Mexican Shredded Chicken Tacos
serves 4

4 bone-in chicken thighs
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground red chile
2 cups tomato passata
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
olive oil
4 flour or 8 corn tortillas
1 red onion, sliced into thin half circles
2 plum tomatoes, diced

Whisk together the tomato passata and vinegar. Set aside.

Mash the garlic, cumin seeds, oregano and red chile in a mortar and pestle until you form a smooth paste. Spread this onto the skin side of each chicken thigh.

Heat a two-count of olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Place the thighs skin-side down in the oil and fry until well browned. Turn over, and pour in the tomato passata and vinegar. Cover and simmer for five to ten minutes, or until cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a cutting board to cool briefly and get on with the salsa.

Salsa Verde

1 spring onion, white and pale green parts only, minced
1 lime, zest and juice
1 green chile, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 sprigs fresh  cilantro
2 sprigs fresh  basil
4 sprigs fresh mint, leaves only
1 sprig fresh dill

Chop the fresh herbs, stems and all, and toss together with the lime, onion, garlic and chile.

To serve the tacos, shred the chicken with two forks, removing all of the meat from the bones. Remove some of the cooking sauce from the pan and schmear some of it on each tortilla. Top with shredded chicken, diced plum tomatoes and sliced red onions. Fold up the tortilla as you would a burrito then slice into two equal portions. Serve with salsa verde.

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