Shigley Spicy Chicken Tacos – From Episode 1

Chicken tacos are one of the “reinvention” recipes I briefly demo at the end of Episode 1. If you were come to dinner at my house on an average Saturday night, chances are we’re serving tacos!

This is a great meal for using up all the leftover chicken from, say a rotisserie or roasted chicken, when it’s a few days old and needs a little extra love. The Jamaican Jerk marinated chicken works well because it’s a similarly-spiced base, but we often just use up whatever cooked chicken is left in the fridge. Once you add the taco spices, it all blends together anyway. Generally speaking, we like our tacos spicy. As in, the regular conversation when we’re cooking tacos (Kev usually takes the lead on the meat) goes like this:

Shigley Spicy Chicken Tacos

Deb: “Babe, please don’t make it so spicy this time.”

Kev: “I won’t.”

Deb (tasting meat 20 min later): “Babe. Why did you make it so spicy?”

Kev: It’s not that spicy.

Deb (mouth on fire): “But it is! You promised! Were you watching the game while you cooked?!”

Kev: “Eh. It’s not spicy. Just put some sour cream on it.”

But in the end, I always enjoy the final product! And not to worry: we nailed down a not too too spicy version to share here.

Shigley Spicy Chicken Tacos

4 cups shredded or pulled chicken

1 medium jalepeno seeded and chopped

1 ½ teaspoons Chili powder (or 1 tablespoon for more spicy!)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 ½ teaspoons cumin

Dash of smoked paprika

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Heat oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and next four ingredients (jalepeno through paprika) and cook chicken & spices together, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Add 4 cups water, or enough to completely cover the chicken by ¼ inch.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat a bit and cook over medium high heat until the water is almost boiled off, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with all your favorite taco veggies and condiments, such as chopped lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onion, avocado and tomato, salsa and sour cream (which really helps cool off the meat!)

Extra tip: If you’re using hard taco shells, be sure to heat them up in the oven! It takes just a few minutes (3-5 min, depending on the brand; we’re partial to Bearitos) and I swear it makes such a huge difference in the flavor and taco night enjoyment.

Photo by Lauren Hunter