Tonight I made tacos full of awesome things. Roasted chicken, hominy salsa, onions fried in chicken fat…..crisped up chicken skin! As I said, a taco full of goodness. Delightfully different, just slightly. It has two extra ingredients that really make it special. Crispy chicken skin and hominy salsa.
I first had tacos with crispy chicken skin on it in Maui when I had dinner with my cousin Katie and her new husband Scott. We were drinking some awesome margaritas [and they were awesome!] and eating great tacos. I’m not always a huge taco fan, but these were fantastic. These were fresh!
Please forgive me in advance for my slap shot “recipe” assembly. It really is a simple procedure.
I pretty much followed Ina’s instructions for a roast chicken, but I made it even simpler by seasoning with seasoned salt only inside and out. That’s it and then I cooked it as she instructs. This isn’t hard. It requires very little hands on time and you can make the salsa while the chicken cooks.
Afterward I removed the skin, drained the fat into a bowl, and shredded the chicken using my fingers. It wasn’t difficult at all. Get in there…. I know you can do it. [Claudia, I see you squirming through my computer.]
Next, I heated up a small pan with half the liquid chicken fat and cut up an onion (any way you like). Fry them in the chicken fat. It’ll take about 15 minutes over medium high heat to turn them the deep brown I prefer. Then I set the onions aside, add the rest of the fat and add the cut up chicken skin. Fry it up for about 15 minutes as well. You’re looking to turn the skin a deep golden brown and begin to get crispy. At this point set it aside to cool where it will get completely crispy. If you have any doubt whether or not this is worth the effort, my husband actually said “I really like this.”. He never says things like that. He’ll say good, ok, or fine to everything. He’s not a food person. But, he noticed these tacos. That says something.
Another good reason to crisp up the chicken skin is that it uses up one more piece of the animal thats been slaughtered. It’s not trivial, it’s respectful.
There are large cans of hominy at most grocery stores – usually in the “ethnic” aisle. [I hate that name for an aisle – what the heck is “ethnic” supposed to mean?] Canned hominy is what I used this time – but if you can get your hands on dried hominy and soak and cook those grains it’s a whole ‘nother story and it brings this salsa recipe to the next level. You can order dried hominy from Rancho Gordo.
I love this salsa. For one because it really can be made all year with no qualms. It’s not yearning for tomatoes or summery ingredients. Cilantro, a hot pepper, lime, onion, spices, and of course hominy. The salsa is bright and fresh, especially if you started with dried hominy, and it’s great with any Mexican or Mexican-style food. It would be great as the salsa for some chips too. You’ll want to use this salsa within two days of making it because the flavors will begin to dull. If that happens add a little more heat and acid – chili pepper and lime in this case – and that should invigorate the salsa. And yes, the recipe is below if you keep scrolling.
Once your chicken is shredded, chicken skin crisped, salsa assembled you can add some cabbage as I did but it’s definitely not necessary and I actually think it impeded the taco flavors. So ignore the cabbage in the photos please. Now grab your tortillas, assemble, and eat up.
Salsa adapted from Sweet Life
2 cups hominy, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp sugar
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 serrano or jalapeno chili, seeds removed (or not!) and finely minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
freshly ground pepper
Add all the ingredients together and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
This salsa is best used within two days. Otherwise it loses the brightness from lime.