Shredded, cooked chicken meat is a staple of Southwestern and Mexican cooking. It is eaten plain, rolled in flour tortillas, on crispy tacos, in enchiladas, with eggs, as a soup...the uses are endless. This method produces a flavorful chicken with a light moist, mild sauce. It has very little fat and is full of flavor. As a bonus, it is incredibly simple to make. If you decide to cook it in larger quantities, be aware that your herbs and chiles will not need to be increased in the same amounts as the other ingredients, as their flavors permeate more thoroughly, even in small quantities. Also, this recipe calls for the removal of the seeds from the jalapeños, but that is merely a matter of taste. If you like your foods spicy, then leaves the seeds in.
*NOTE: Look for cellophane packages in the Mexican food aisle of your grocer marked "Menudo Mix" or "Menudo Spices." If not available, substitute mixed dried herbs such as oregano, marjoram, thyme and a dash of crushed red chili pepper.
Place the chicken breasts in a pot just large enough to hold them snugly. Add enough water to cover the breasts by 1/2 inch. Remove the breasts and set aside. Into the water, add the onion, 1 clove of crushed garlic, the menudo spices and bay leaves. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and let simmer 10 minutes.
Add the chicken breasts, making sure they are just barely covered by the water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes, skimming off any foam that may appear on the surface. Cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let the chicken set for 25 to 30 minutes.
Carefully remove the chicken from the still hot broth and set the chicken aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, skin the chicken and coarsely shred the meat from the bone. Discard the skin, bay leaves and garlic clove but keep the broth. Skim the fat from the broth.
Chop the remaining 2 cloves garlic. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and cook until slightly browned on the edges. Add the garlic and cumin to the skillet, along with the chiles, salt, tomatoes and shredded chicken. Using a slotted spoon, put the onions from the stock into the skillet. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking broth. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Serve the chicken with warm flour tortillas on the side.
NOTE: Do not discard the remaining broth. Use it as a soup or for cooking other dishes (it's great for cooking beans). A quick side dish to the chicken is to simmer diced potatoes in the stock until cooked through. The potatoes end up soft but chunky, and the broth becomes thick, creamy and flavorful.
©1996, Katherine Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007
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