Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chicken and Goat Cheese Tacos with Roasted Tomato Garlic Salsa

My wife is a fanatic for goat cheese...she has yet to meet a single morsel of goat cheese she doesn't like. And the goat cheese in this recipe is the absolute crowning touch to this great amalgamation of flavors.

Chicken tends to dry out on the grill, especially over high heat. That's why we're going to use chicken thighs, a dark meat with loads of moisture that will stand up to the fiery heat of the coals.

The salsa itself is a thing of greatness. We're going to grill the vegetables for the salsa over high heat until they are charred and softened. Then we'll whip them together in the food processor to create a salsa unlike anything else you've ever tasted before.

This brilliant recipe was created by chef and author Jamie Purviance (shop for his books here: Serves four.

Ingredients for the Salsa
2 medium ripe tomatoes
1/2 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 medium red bell pepper
4 scallions, root ends trimmed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Ingredients for the Rub
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Ingredients for the Tacos
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 ounces each)
1 tablespoon lime juice
8 small flour tortillas (6 inches)
1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese


  1. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (450° to 550°F).
  2. Lightly brush the tomatoes, onion pieces, bell pepper, and scallions with oil. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the vegetables over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they are charred all over and tender, turning as needed. Remove the vegetables from the grill as they are done. The bell pepper will take 10 to 12 minutes, the tomatoes will take 6 to 8 minutes, and the onions and scallions will take 2 to 4 minutes. Place the bell pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, process the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle chiles, and lime juice until smooth. Season with salt. Pour the salsa into a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl combine the rub ingredients. Lightly brush the thighs on both sides with oil and season evenly with the rub.
  5. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the thighs over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the meat is firm and the juices run clear, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once or twice. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool.
  6. When the thighs are cool enough to handle, cut them into 1/3-inch pieces and put them in a large bowl along with 1/3 cup of the salsa. Remove and discard the stem, skin, and seeds from the bell pepper. Chop the pepper and scallions and add them to the bowl; toss to combine. Season with salt and lime juice.
  7. Heat the tortillas over direct high heat just to soften them, 30 seconds to 1 minute, turning once.
  8. Lay the tortillas in a single layer on a work surface. Evenly divide the cheese and the chicken-vegetable mixture among the tortillas. Fold up the tortillas and serve with the remaining salsa.
Wine pairing: Zinfandel, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or El Pacifico Mexican beer

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