Wednesday, February 13, 2013

chipotle shrimp tacos

Warning: these puppies are sure to spice things up! It's Valentine's week, and nothings says "I Love You" like a spicy, sloppy taco! Right? Well, maybe not, but they are soooo good. But, be warned! They are soooo spicy. I'll give tricks and tips along the way to cool things down, but only in the kitchen. Anywhere else, you're own your own.
This is a shrimp taco, but you can use beef, chicken or fish as well. Really, any meat will do. You could probably even use tofu is you wanted- we don't roll that way in our house but to each their own!
The base of this taco are chipotle peppers in adobo. And, boy howdy, are they spicy. Chipotle peppers are ripe jalapenos that are roasted and smoked then packing in sauce or dried out. The green jalapenos that you see usually at the grocery store are un-ripe. When combined in a soup or stew, rice or beans that are cooked for a while, they add a smokey heat that is in the background. In this recipe, we are pushing the flavor to the fore front. One easy first step to cutting down the heat is to mangle these peppers. When you pull one out of the can, cut the top off, cut it in half and scrape the seeds and flesh out. You can also cut down the amount of adobo sauce you add to cut down on spice.
I added the chipotles along with garlic and chicken stock in this pan, but you can use cream or yogurt to calm it down- seriously. I am giving you fair warning- if you don't add some kind of dairy or cut back the amount of pepper you use, this will be fire dragon spicy.
Now most people know this, but it always stands to be restated. When cooking shrimp, the best way to get the most flavor is to not over cook them. The easiest way to avoid this is to cook the shrimp until they are pink and are shaped like c's and u's. If you cook them too long, the shrimp will become o's and the flesh will be tough and chewy.
I have two confessions to make, actually. Although I've been tending to make everything from scratch lately, I did not make these tortillas or the tomatilla salsa. I ended up throwing this recipe together, and I happend to have the tomatilla salsa in the cabinet. You can use any salsa, but tomatilla salsa is generally mild in flavor. We went full spice on this taco, but the addition of sour cream, cheese or a crema could help further de-spice the tacos. If you go with this recipe full on, remember that I warned you!
Chipotle Shrimp Tacos
1/2 lb peeled and de-veined shrimp
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chicken stock
4 tortillas, warmed
Tomatilla salsa
Lettuce

In a large sautee pan on medium heat, begin to cook shrimp in vegetable oil until just turning pink. Add minced chipotle peppers, garlic and chicken stock to shrimp and cook until pink all the way through, and shrimp are shaped like c's or u's. Warm tortillas in the oven or microwave, and layer tomatilla salsa under cooked shrimp and lettuce. Serve with cheese, sour cream or crema to cool down spice. Enjoy!