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  1. Tuesday, October 29

    I finally have a tortilla warmer!

    You know what I’ve always wanted? A tortilla warmer. I’ve frequently looked for them in stores but have had a hard time finding them. (Side note: I don’t know why I never looked on Amazon, but whatever.)

    tortilla warmer | thisweekfordinner.com

    My wonderful neighbor Ari (who is from Mexico City and shops at a Mexican market nearby) knew I was on the lookout for one. She knocked on my door the other day, tortillas and tortilla warmer in hand! She’s a very good neighbor and she knows how to make me very happy!

    tortilla warmer | thisweekfordinner.com

    So, yeah, tortilla warmers are great. You should get one. You can heat up your tortillas, put them in the warmer as you go, then serve all the heated tortillas at once. It’s awesome. (Now that I think about it, my warmer will come in handy for Swedish pancakes, too!)


  2. Wednesday, August 15

    Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew)

    One of the dishes I grew up eating was “chicken fajitas.” They weren’t fajitas in the traditional sense but that’s what we always called them. My mom would make a chicken stew called pollo guisado. We would use the stew as a filling in tortillas and eat them like fajitas. Everyone in the family loved “chicken fajitas” for dinner…kids and adults alike!

    I’ll never forget one chicken fajita night in particular. My mom called us all into dinner and we sat down to eat while she finished up a few things in the kitchen. We each started eating then slowly looked at one another. Something was not right. In fact, our food tasted downright weird. No one in the family had the heart to say anything, so we just kept eating. My mom finally sat down, took one bite and said, “Why are you guys eating this?!?!” She immediately realized she had put cinnamon into the stew instead of cumin. Might I recommend NOT using cinnamon in this dish!

    Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew)
     
    From Cuisine of the American Southwest by Anne Lindsay Greer This stew is rarely served alone as a main course, but rather is frequently used as a filling for Tortas, Tacos or Chalupas (or, in the case of the Wallins, Fajitas)
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry
    Ingredients
    • 2 pounds boneless raw chicken, skinned and cut into bite-size pieces, see note*
    • ½ cup flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1-2 tablespoon butter
    • 1 medium onion, minced
    • 1 small bell pepper, minced
    • 1 14.5 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with the juices
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • Chicen stock, if needed to thin, see note*
    • salt and pepper to taste
    Instructions
    1. Place the flour, salt and pepper in a bag. Add the chicken in several batches and shake vigorously to coat very lightly with the seasoned flour. In a large skillet, saute the chicken in the oil and butter over medium heat until all sides are lightly browned. Add additional butter if necessary (my mom says she find this is always necessary!). Remove the chicken.
    2. Saute onion and bell pepper 1-2 minutes in the remaining fat in the skillet. Stir in the tomatoes and the juices breaking up the tomatoes with a fork. Stir in the cumin and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add the chicken and some stock if the mixture seems too thick. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Serve as a filling for tortas, tacos, chalupas or fajitas and top with whatever toppings you like (cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole, yadayada). Yields enough filling for about 12 tacos.
    4. *Note: Because this is a filling, the amounts of chicken and liquid are variable depending upon how you plan to use it.

     


  3. Friday, August 27

    Adobo Chicken…and some darn good tortillas

    I am finally writing about the spice from this week’s menu post. As some of you guessed, it is annatto seed, also called achiote seed. And I made adobo chicken with it. And it was GOOD.

    Nate came home one day saying how good the adobo chicken at work is, so I started searching for recipes. Oh my, there are so many recipes and they are all so different from one another…so I just picked one that sounded good and went for it. And the result was delicious! Different than what Nate had at work, but delicious just the same!

    Before I get to the recipe, I have to talk about the tortillas we used with our chicken. Tortilla Land sent me some of their uncooked corn tortillas to try out. I’m a tough corn tortilla critic and, I have to say, I’m so glad Tortilla Land sent me their corn tortillas. They are wonderful! They are not dry at all and don’t fall apart or break, which is what you normally get with store bought corn tortillas. I saw Tortilla Land at Costco just this week, so keep an eye out next time you go!

    Okay, back to annatto seed and adobo chicken. I used a recipe from About.com, but I’ve changed it up and written it out for you below. I know the recipe looks long, but honestly, this was an easy recipe, so don’t be scared!

    The sweet but spicy sauce is oh so yummy, and grilled chicken is always the best. We served the chicken with tortillas, tomatoes and avocado. You could serve over rice if you like (which I think is how it’s generally served), or just eat straight up!

    Adobo Chicken...and some darn good tortillas
     
    Sweet and Spicy!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dishes
    Ingredients
    • 4 chicken breasts (I actually used 3 drumsticks and 3 boneless thighs b/c that’s what I had on hand!)
    • Salt (pref. kosher)
    • Rub:
    • ½ Tbsp. annatto (achiote) seeds
    • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
    • 4 Tbsp. white vinegar
    • 1 tsp. cayenne
    • 1 tsp. black pepper
    • 4 garlic cloves
    • Sauce:
    • ⅓ of the rub above
    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
    • 1 tsp. basil
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • a splash or two of white vinegar
    • a few shakes of cayenne pepper
    • a few shakes of black pepper
    • about 1 tsp cornstarch, whisked with some cool water
    Instructions
    1. Cover annatto seeds with boiling water. Cover and let sit overnight.
    2. Drain seeds. Place seeds along with the rest of the “Rub” ingredients in a food processor. Grind until you have a coarse paste, without too many large pieces of seed left.
    3. Place chicken in a casserole dish and sprinkle all over with kosher salt (or regular salt if that’s what you have). Cover pieces with about two-thirds of the achiote rub. (Note on the picture below: I just sprinkled salt and pepper over a few extra pieces of chicken for my girls, so they would be less spicy – they still ate the sauce, but the chicken had less heat for their younger palettes.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for a few hours.
    4. Preheat grill. Grill chicken about 10 minutes on each side over a medium flame or until done. (Click here with even better directions for grilling chicken pieces – this follows closely to what Nate did over a charcoal grill, he’s smart like that.)
    5. To make the sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients (except the cornstarch) and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture during the simmer.
    6. Pour sauce over grilled chicken and enjoy!

     

     

    By the way, if anyone out there DOES have an adobo chicken recipe they love, please share! Would love to try it out!