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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Sunday, October 27, 2013


These tostadas are wonderful!  Matt went bananas for them.  Tostadas are fried, flat corn tortillas topped with beans, meat and vegetables.  You can be very creative in your toppings and make things from scratch or use shortcuts.  These have refried beans, shredded chicken in a smoky sauce, avocado, sour cream, lettuce, onions and radish, topped with Mexican queso.  

The tostadas themselves can be made or bought.  I found these at our local Asian grocery store that also has a great Latin food section.  I found four kinds of queso and real Mexican crema as well!  Instead of these you can buy corn tortillas and fry them in oil until crispy.  Or you can make your own corn tortillas and fry them.  The point is a crispy, flat shell to hold the toppings.  This dish was created to use up stale, leftover tortillas.  

For the chicken you can shred leftover roasted chicken, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, or cook the chicken yourself.  I've been loving poached chicken lately in salads and tacos.  It is so quick and easy and gives you moist shredded meat plus chicken stock at the same time!

To poach for this recipe, place two chicken breasts (boneless or bone-in) in a small pot and add some onion, peppercorns, dried oregano, a bay leaf and a sprig of cilantro.  Cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes until cooked through.  

When the chicken is cooked, strain the liquid an save it for another use.  Remove the chicken and shred it with two forks.  Set aside and keep warm.

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Halve, then quarter three medium tomatoes (about a pound).

Slice 1 and a half medium onions into wedges and halve and seed some peppers.  I used  four jalapeños and two Hungarian peppers.  You can use whatever combination of hot and sweet peppers you like.  Add two large cloves of garlic and toss it all with a tablespoon of oil.

Broil the vegetables about 4 inches from the heat for about 10 minutes until well-charred. 

Then purée the vegetables in a blender.  Use a towel to cover the top of the blender when blending hot foods so it doesn't explode on you.   This sauce is fantastic.  You get so much flavour for minimal effort.  Charring the vegetables really boosts the flavour.  

Mix the warm sauce with the warm chicken, add a couple of tablespoons of minced cilantro and set aside.  

Finally, the salad.  Finely dice half a small onion and mix with thinly sliced radishes, shredded iceberg lettuce and minced cilantro.  Slice some avocado and limes and set aside.  

Shred some cheese.  I used this queso panela which is mild and salty. You can use queso fresco, cotija, ricotta salata, or basically any cheese you like.  The last step is to warm up some refried beans (I used canned but you can make your own), and lightly toast the tostadas in the oven to warm them.  

To assemble, spread the warm refried beans over a warm tostada.  

Top with a layer of shredded chicken.

Then a layer of avocado.

And some sour cream or crema.

Then top with the lettuce and radish salad and a sprinkling of cheese.

Squeeze some lime over the whole thing and dig in!  Eating this can present a bit of a challenge.  I've had success cutting through the shell with a knife and picking up the pieces.  However you choose to eat it, you've got to try it.  Fresh, flavourful and super tasty.  

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