File this one under successful mistake: what happened when we screwed up a recipe but somehow ended up with a dish that was even better than the original. Because we like a good chicken and rice dish (this one is a particular favorite) and we’re fans of smoky, spicy Southwestern flavor, we figured that this recipe for chipotle chicken and rice would be a winner. So why is the title of this post “chicken tinga tacos” instead of “chipotle chicken and rice”? Because someone mistakenly used brown rice instead of white rice the first time she attempted the recipe, which meant that the dish had to cook a lot longer for the rice to be done, causing the chicken to become tender enough to shred with a spoon (and us to eat dinner about two hours late). On that night we realized that the slow-cooked chicken and rice mixture would be far better suited as a taco filling than a main course. And not just any taco filling—we accidentally created a recipe for chicken “tinga,” which generally refers to meat slowly cooked in a chipotle sauce and served shredded in a taco or on a tostada. The first night we ate our happy accident, all we could think about was how good it would be wrapped in a white corn tortilla with minced onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. I will probably never be fearless in the kitchen, and my cooking will definitely never be perfect, but it’s comforting to know that sometimes it turns out that a mistake is just what the recipe needed.
One of the many things we love about New Orleans is the vibe. It’s a place where we feel like we belong, the moment our feet hit the quaint, festive, balcony-lined streets. There’s an indulgent “anything goes” atmosphere that dovetails with a welcoming spirit and sense of community—even for tourists. This shrimp dish evokes that Big Easy experience with its bold, spicy, complex flavors and communal, one-pot serving that encourages a little bit of messiness and finger-licking as you peel and eat the shrimp and dip your bread in the sauce. In our humble opinion, New Orleans is one of those places that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. But if you’re not able to get there, try making a big pot of this shrimp, then eat it with your favorite person (or people) while listening to Van Morrison (or jazz, or whatever music puts you in the most relaxed, happy mood possible), and you’ll get very close to the next best thing.
In response to a reader request (Hi Jill!), this post is more recommendation than recipe. If you’re interested in the most uniquely spicy and tangy grilled chicken that you’ll likely ever eat, do yourself a favor and order a bottle of Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce. We first encountered this addictive flavor at a Nando’s restaurant in London many years ago, and we were hooked after just a few bites of flame-grilled chicken marinated and basted in their signature sauce made from African bird’s eye chiles. Although Nando’s has restaurants all over the world, none of their locations are close enough for us to get our fix as often as we’d like. So we do the next best thing and make our own version at home. All you need is chicken, your choice of Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce, and barbecue sauce to tone down the spice a bit (unless you can handle the heat from straight-up PERi-PERi – we can’t.) We promise you won’t be disappointed.
- Pan-Seared Lamb Chops, Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Scalloped Potatoes
- Lasagne, Salad
- Chipotle Chicken & Rice, Roasted Brussels Sprout Leaves
- Sauteed Sole in Herb Butter Sauce, Asparagus Risotto
- Vietnamese Pork Chops, Endive & Walnut Salad
There’s nothing quite like a big bowl of hearty, spicy, comforting chili to warm you from the inside out on a cold winter day. Our recipe repertoire includes several different kinds of chili: Dan’s famous, Texas-style sirloin chili that actually won an award; a healthier white chili made with ground turkey that we like to have simmering on the stove while we decorate our home and tree for Christmas; and the peculiarly delicious version that Cincinnati is known for. Since this was our first attempt at vegetarian chili, we used a recipe by the experts at America’s Test Kitchen from their book “Slow Cooker Revolution.” It was really good, with all the right chili-esque flavors and texture that you expect from a cold weather, comfort food favorite. As I usually do when trying a new recipe, at the end of the meal I asked Dan if he would do anything different with the dish. He replied, “Two things: increase the amount of chili powder, and add about three pounds of sirloin.”