A lot of people ask me where I learned to cook. Food blogs generate these types of Q’s, ya know?
I never really have a good answer to that questions because it’s not like I grew up around gourmet food with the exception of mom’s amazing reuben casserole (this is not a joke – it was my favorite and most requested birthday meal ever). I’ve never been to culinary school, and I did not spend most of my childhood with my grandmother in the kitchen learning to make hundreds of authentic Norwegian recipes.
I guess my real answer for where I learned to cook is my tastebuds and the internet. Boring-est story ever.
What I wish people would ask me instead is where I learned to love food. That’s where the stories are because I learned to love food from so many different people and places in my life.
Like from my family, because we would always, always sit down to eat dinner together (thank you mom ❤). Enjoying meals together with people, no TV, no couch-eating, no cell phones (I’m pretending like cell phones were invented during my childhood – just go with it) – this attitude of giving meals and meal-sharing people our undivided attention is something that is a part of my food being.
And then I learned more food love from watching and drooling as my grandmothers spread the lefse with butter and brown sugar in the kitchen at Christmastime and then rolled each piece up into those tidy little heaven-logs. Gimme gimme.
Then I went to college, where Food = Baked Doritos, popcorn, and M&Ms. But luckily, two awesome food things happened to me in college.
1) I spent a semester in Spain, where I ate delicious Spanish home-cooked recipes from my gracious host mother who was a food lover extraordinaire. That, along with some travels around Europe, was a really incredible season of eating. Swiss chocolate truffles and cheese fondue, we belong to each other.
2) I lived with the best foodie roommate who, obviously, is still my best foodie friend! Or just best friend who is also a foodie. Or just everything. Ang and I co-developed our long-standing love of all food with many a late-night run for chips and salsa, an embarassing number of trips to the one and only Olive Garden, hundreds of pans of cookie brownies, and food creations like creamy fettuccine with corn. I owe a big piece of my food heart to her.
To tie it all together, today’s Spicy Chipotle Shredded Chicken is an Ang-inspired recipe. I first fell in love with it at when she made it for a group of our friends and then, like any good food blogger, kind of took the idea (um, wait, yellow mustard in chicken? but yes actually) and created my own version. And good news up in the house today:
Spicy Shredded Chipotle Chicken IS DELICIOUS IN ANYTHING. Tacos. Nachos. Salads. Quesadillas. Enchiladas. Tamale Pies. and mooore.
There is so much versatility with this spicy delicious meat that it might just become a meal-time staple. We had a little container in the fridge this last week and every day was a new lunch (salads, tacos, nachos) depending on what we were in the mood for. Which, for me, was all the Mexican food ever made in the history of the world.
And now finally here we are at the end of my long post / beginning of your amazing Mexican food creations. Let the good times roll.
- 3 individual chipotle peppers in adobo sauce + 1 teaspoon of their sauce
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (store bought is fine - I just use my own so there's no added sugar)
- 1½ cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup light beer (or replace with ½ cup broth)
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- Mince the chipotle peppers and garlic cloves. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chipotle; saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Smells will be yummy.
- Add the orange juice, chicken broth, beer, and cilantro and turn the heat to high to bring to a boil. Add the raw chicken breasts; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken breasts are cooked through. Remove the chicken breasts from the pot and place on a cutting board for a few minutes to cool. Shred the chicken with two forks.
- Meanwhile, keep the sauce left in the pan over low heat. Whisk in the mustard and cook the sauce until it reduces by about half and you get all that mmm mmm good flavor in a thicker, more concentrated sauce. Add the shredded chicken back to the pot with the sauce and toss to combine. Top with additional fresh cilantro.