I love summer. The long, warm days are always conducive to inviting friends over for a simple and delicious BBQ. Grilling is one of the few food-related things that doesn’t usually fall on me at our house and despite how much I enjoy cooking, I usually appreciate the break! My husband has been working on his skills as a BBQer since we got married and has gotten pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. So when we had my parents over for dinner the other night, I asked him to take care of the BBQed chicken with spice rub. We served a mountain of grilled squash, zucchini and eggplant on the side, and it was delicious.
But what I really want to talk about is the leftovers. I always make sure to make extra when we grill anything because the leftovers are always so delicious and versatile. Plus, our grill is charcoal, so we don’t like to fire it up unless we’re cooking for more than two people.
Usually, before deciding what to make for dinner, I like to take stock of what we have in our fridge and pantry so that I can make sure to use up all of our fresh ingredients while they’re still fresh. On this day, the things that popped out at me were: yellow onions, green bell peppers, hot peppers, and tomatoes, all from the San Pedro Square farmer’s market in San Jose. I also remembered that I had some masa harina in the pantry. To me this spelled homemade chicken tacos! They ended up being a little messy but very tasty. Here is a picture of the finished product:
And here is the recipe:
First, I made my masa for the tortillas. All this entails is mixing 1 c. of masa harina with 1/2 c. of water. You mix it up with a fork and then your hands. If it doesn’t come together well, you can add a little bit of water, but only add 1 Tbsp. at a time so that it doesn’t get too sticky. Next, form the dough into balls, about the size of golf balls. You should get about 7 or 8 from 1 c. of masa harina. Cover the balls of masa with plastic wrap until you are ready to use them.
Next chop up the yellow onion and sauteed it over medium heat in a nonstick pan.
While that’s cooking, chop the bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes and chicken. Once the onions are translucent, add both types of peppers and let them sautee for a bit. Then add the chicken. Because the chicken is already cooked it just needs to be warmed up. Also, if the chicken already has a nice spice rub on it (like ours did), the only other seasoning you need to add is some salt and pepper (and maybe some red pepper flakes if you like spicy foods). Next add the diced tomatoes to the mix and let it all cook together.
As this is simmering, start rolling out and cooking the tortillas. To roll them, place a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter top, followed by a flattened ball of masa, topped with another sheet of plastic wrap. Then just roll the tortilla out, as flat as possible with a rolling pin. Once it is flat enough, carefully remove the plastic wrap and cook the tortilla on a hot pan with no oil. Flip it after about 1 min., let it cook for another minute, and flip it once more for a few more seconds. Repeat this process with all of the masa, and let guests create their own plates. You can serve the tacos with sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheese and other condiments. One way you can alter this recipe for your vegetarian friends is to substitute tofu for the chicken. I haven’t done this myself but I suspect that thick slices of firm tofu would be really good with a spice rub on the grill. If I were doing this, I would probably put the tofu in a grill basket to keep it from breaking. Maybe we’ll have to give this a try next time!