spicy chicken tacos & a night in

It was a busy weekend – but in the best way possible. Up at 5am to head to NJ for the day on Saturday. In Long Island and back late from watching the Super Bowl. It was an amazing weekend filled with friends I don’t see enough of – don’t get me wrong – but the thought of staying in last night for cooking and some Homeland watching had me smiling most of yesterday afternoon.

T found a fun recipe from the Food Network for chicken tacos and we were going to do as lettuce wraps instead of with tortillas. Between those and the toppings, it was like a built in salad. I knew I was going to like this recipe when I saw two ingredients – Serrano peppers and smoked paprika (my current obsession). This recipe was nice and easy and flowed much better with the two of us working together – him slicing/dicing/cubing and me mixing/sautéing/simmering.


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 5 yellow onions, minced
  • 4 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breast (diced into 1/2 inch cubes) Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Serrano chiles, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds (toasted)
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock or water

Taco Toppings

  • 2 red onions, sliced thin
  • 12 radishes, sliced thin
  • 6 small tomatoes, diced [we substituted a small can of diced tomatoes]
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 2 bunches of cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 1 head of Boston lettuce (rinsed/dried in stacks of individual leafs)


Heat a large sauté pan over medium hear and pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and onions, cooking together until soft and caramelized (10-12 minutes).

While the garlic and onions are cooking, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over the chicken and toss until the pieces are coated. Heat a different pan over medium-high heat, coated with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the chickehn until it is lightly browned. The recipe said 6-8 minutes, but this ended up taking more like 12-14 minutes for me as I only had a smaller pan to use.

Once the onions and garlic are caramelized and softened, add the serranos, paprikas, cumin (we omitted this as the store did not have the cumin seeds) and oregano. When the chicken is done, add it into the pan with the onions. Pour in the broth or water and bring to a boil (note: we agreed the next time, we would omit this and instead use the juice from the tomato can, as our sauce ended up on the watery side). Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens – the recipe claimed 20 minutes, but I kept this going for about 25. Serve on the Boston lettuce with the toppings, as desired.

Overall, a quick, flavorful, and easy recipe to make for a chilly night in. Paired nicely with the packaged “taco rice” we found at the grocery store. T’s addition of lime juice mixed into the sour cream was a nice one. Oh and Homeland? Totally addicted… (almost to season 2!)


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