My chef broke his left wrist. Chopping is pretty difficult now and so is carrying a pot of water. Working in the restaurant is impossible. After surgery on Wednesday, he’ll be at home recovering for the next six weeks. It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but it’s not like us to dwell on the things we can’t control. My maimed chef and I found a silver lining – we get to see each other for the next six weeks!
Before this week, all we’ve known is what it’s like to work opposite shifts. Now we’re spending every night together without feeling like our minutes are slowly ticking away until one of us heads back to work. We get to re-learn how to live as a couple. Until he goes back to the kitchen, I am selfishly happy I get to spend more time with my husband.
So, given our new one-handed chef situation, making this recipe went a little differently than normal. Instead of each of us working at our own “station” in the kitchen, Matthew relied on me to put his vision to work. It’s the first time he’s stood back and led me through his version of a recipe, step by step, instead of each of us doing our own thing. For the first couple of minutes, he was chasing me around the kitchen hovering over my every move, instructing me in his calm voice to thinly slice this and add a little more salt to that. I felt like a line cook! I learned so much from him and got a better understanding of his recipe creation process. And I got to take all of the credit for dinner that night!
Matthew’s family stayed with us this weekend, so we made a chef’s version of a healthy Latin-influenced spread. We made two types of chicken tacos: adobo chicken tacos with guajillo pepper and the sweet chicken tacos with dandelion greens. Alongside we served vegan refried beans, squash and poblano peppers with lime, cabbage and radish slaw, homemade tomatillo salsa, guacamole and a big salad with fennel, green beans, baby tomatoes and Manchego cheese.
Because the adobo chicken tacos were really spicy, we decided to make a milder version with the sweet chicken tacos. The sweetness comes from carrots and honey and offsets the intense bitterness of dandelion greens. This is the kind of meal you make in large quantities ahead of time because as Matthew says, “It’s dead easy.”
Sweet Chicken Tacos with Dandelion Greens
Makes enough for about 12 tacos
4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
1/2 bottle of beer (we used New Planet out of Colorado)
1-14.5 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper
Start by searing the chicken thighs in cooking oil over medium-high heat until nicely browned. When both sides are seared, remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pot the chicken was seared in, turn the heat down to medium and add the onions, garlic, carrots and spices. Cook until translucent, stirring often.
Drink half of the beer. Add the chicken thighs back to the pot with the onions. Add the remaining beer and crank up the heat to medium-high. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock and honey. Stir well.
Simmer uncovered for about two hours. Make sure that it’s hot enough to keep a lazy bubble. Cook it down until almost all of the liquid is gone and the chicken looks coated. At this point, you can shred the chicken with two forks or follow Matthew’s favorite trick – stir it around with tongs until it naturally starts to pull apart and shred on its own.
Serve with your favorite taco fixings!