Monday, July 23, 2012

I may or may not have posted this before...

Loooong ago, I posted this guest post on Crystal's Craft Spot.  It's definitely a favorite around my house.  I didn't post it earlier, because it's actually something I've shared before (maybe a few times?) but I decided that since I've gotten several new followers AND this is something I'm making for my family on vacay this week, It was an appropriate time to re-post.
The recipe I’m going to share with you today is one that I discovered on-line on a little blog called Favorite Family Recipes.  I made a few subtle changes to the recipes that I’m including below, and you will definitely want to check out their blog for more delicious inspiration.  
With the following recipe (which is a knock off salad done in 6 parts... so it does take some time) you will be upgraded to Master Chef status after the first few bites - guaranteed.  It’s definitely one of our favorites.
Without further ado, I bring you the
Don’t you love their shredded pork salad?  You’ll love this one even more, and that’s not lip service.
First of all, please note that several pieces of this salad can be made up ahead of time, so as to break the work up over a few days.  The rice, beans and salad dressing can all be made and refrigerated, then heated up when you serve the salads.  The pork needs to cook for about 6 hours - although if you do chicken as I usually do, you only need about half that time.  You may want to cook this over night.  The crispy tortilla strips are really the only thing that needs to be made just prior to serving so they stay nice and crunchy.  

On to the recipes!
Part 1: The pork or CHICKEN (note, I ALWAYS make this with chicken because it’s faster, and we love it that way.  The pork is yummy, too, though!)
Sweet Chicken
2 pounds chicken (if you use pork, it’s best to get the boneless pork loin)
2 20 oz bottles of Coke (NOT diet)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can diced green chilies
3/4 (10oz) can red enchilada sauce 
1 c. brown sugar
Put the chicken in a heavy duty ziploc bag to marinade. Add a bottle of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.  Drain marinade and put chicken, 1/2 a bottle of coke, water, and garlic salt in a crock pot on high for about 2-3 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Remove chicken from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred the chicken.  In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 bottle of Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar.   Put shredded chicken and sauce in crockpot and cook on low for 1 hour. 
Part 2: The rice
Cilantro-Lime Rice
1 c. uncooked rice (long-grain, white rice)
1 tsp. butter 
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

Part 3: The beans
Mexican Black Beans
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice or V8
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro.
Part 4: The dressing
Cilantro-Lime Ranch Dressing
1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. buttermilk
2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced
3/4 bunch of fresh cilantro
2 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalepeno (or less depending on taste)
Mix all ingredients together in the blender. 
Part 5: The tortilla strips
Crispy Tortilla Strips
10-12 corn tortillas
oil for frying
Cut tortillas into strips using a pizza cutter. Cut 2-3 tortillas at once.  Heat oil in a large frying pan. Place strips into hot oil and fry until they become crispy. When nice and crispy, remove from oil and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt after each batch.
Just a note: the first time I made this I didn't make the strips, I thought they were just "fluff".  But I've made them every time since - they are almost essential in my book.  Just so you know.

Part 6: Assembly!  (best part)
Shredded Sweet Chicken Salad
6 large Tortillas
Mexican blend shredded cheese
Cilantro Lime Rice
Mexican Black Beans
Sweet Chicken (or pork)
Green Leaf Lettuce, or Boston Bib, or similar
Pico de gallo
Sour cream
Tortilla Strips 
Cotija, or Mexican Cheese
Cilantro-Lime Ranch Dressing 
Lay your tortillas out on a baking sheet, sprinkle cheese on them, and put in the oven at 375 for about 5 min or until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and place each tortilla on a plate or shallow bowl.  Add beans, rice, chicken, then lettuce and a pico.  Add guacamole and sour cream, if you like.  Sprinkle on some of the tortilla strips and crumbled cotija cheese.  Top with a few cilantro leaves. Serve with the cilantro-lime ranch dressing.

If you’d like to make your own pico de gallo and guacamole, you can find my recipes by clicking the links.  Otherwise, you can find them in most produce departments.
We usually eat this with a refreshing pitcher of Brazilian Lemonade - that stuff is addictive, I tell ya.  
This super duper salad will have them all begging for more.  And why not give them more?  Do you need dessert ideas?  Do I have some good ones for you!  Lemon Cake PieCheesecake Stuffed StrawberriesCreamy Dreamy Lime Pie.  Take your pick!

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