Crispy Chicken Tacos

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During my travels this Summer, I had a long lay over at the Charlotte Airport. Given that there are the usual fast food joints in the main terminal, I opted to have lunch at a spot in Terminal D, called “The Rum Bar”, whichDSC09852
was reasonably priced considering that it was at the airport. Although a member of the staff highly recommended the Jerk Chicken Sandwich, I thought about eating such a spicy meal and flying would not agree with me, so I chose the Crispy Chicken Tacos,instead, which consisted of two tacos and was mainly composed of fried chicken tenders with an avocado cream sauce, Monterey Jack cheese and diced tomatoes, served on a flour tortilla. You had the options of having french fries or rice and black beans as a side. It was fresh and hot and tasted pretty good considering airport food. I think that three tacos would have been better as a lunch entree, or maybe because I was hungry and wanted more……

So as soon as I got home, I had to try to make these amazing little tacos, but with a little more low fat and low carb healthy choices.

Yes, it takes is a little time, but the effort is worth it, in developing more layers of flavor. So here is my take on The Rum Bar’s Crispy Chicken Tacos. I oven baked the chicken tenders, rather than frying them, reducing the fat content.

Also note that the avocado cilantro lime cream sauce is so delicious and it is also amazing on Chile Verde, chicken, fish, or seafood tacos. It is also great as a dip for vegetables and tortilla chips.

As for a cooking tip, warming the tortillas is usually the last step when serving a Latin inspired meal for dinner. With a little heat, they get soft and pliable – perfect for wrapping around the filling.

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:
For the Marinade:
2 pounds chicken breast, cut into tenderloin strips
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
A pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin,
1/4 teaspoons chili powder

For the Breading:
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
2 cups Japanese Panko breadcrumb
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

For the Avocado Lime Crema:
1 ripe Haas avocado, peeled and mashed
6 ounces low fat plain Greek yogurt
Juice and zest of one lime
1/2 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 teaspoon
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

For the Sour Cream Drizzle:
1⁄4 cup light sour cream
1 -2 teaspoons skim milk

One package 6-inch diameter flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, for garnish
4 Whole Roma tomatoes, diced, for garnish

Rice and Black Beans, for serving

Directions:
For the Chicken Tenders, combine the chicken tenders with all of the marinade ingredients in a large ziploc bag. Seal the bag tightly and gently message the bag to ensure chicken tenders are evenly coated with buttermilk marinade. Place in a bowl, just in case leakage that may occur from the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. For best results, marinating over night is ideal.

Preheat oven to 375 °F.

Remove the chicken tenders from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the marinade. Lightly season the chicken tenders with salt and black pepper. In a shallow dish, season the flour with salt and black pepper then beat the eggs in another shallow dish with the milk. In a third shallow dish, place the breadcrumbs.

Dredge the chicken tenders in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess flour. Dip the floured chicken tenders into the egg and finally, coat the chicken tenders with the breadcrumbs.

Place the breaded chicken tenders onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.Remove from the oven and set aside and keep warm.

To make the avocado lime crema, cut the avocados in half, lengthwise and  remove the stones and peel. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, place in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent further oxidation and set aside.

To make the sour cream drizzle, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and the milk. Transfer into a small resealable plastic bag and set aside.

To warm the tortillas making them more pliable, preheat the oven to 350°F.Wrap a stack of five or fewer tortillas in a packet of aluminum foil and put it the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through. You can do multiple packets of five tortillas each all at the same time. Alternatively you can also warm the tortillas in a microwave oven. Put five or fewer tortillas on a microwavable plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave in 30-second bursts until they are warmed through. Repeat in batches of five tortillas until all your tortillas are warm.

To assemble the tacos, fill the tortilla in this order: spread a smear of avocado lime crema on the tortilla, add the chicken tenders and top with shredded cheese and a 1/2 teaspoon of diced tomatoes. Snip off one corner of bag and squeeze the sour cream drizzle onto the tacos, in a zig zag manner.

Serve immediately with rice and black beans.

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