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I find it totally interesting that my best “work” is done when Zach isn’t here to taste test. I’m not sure why this happens. This just happened to be the case with these crispy honey chipotle chicken tacos. Little known fact, I don’t normally post a recipe that I made that day or the day before. I usually have a little bit of a stock pile going on, and normally the recipe for these honey chipotle chicken tacos wouldn’t have been published until say Thursday or Friday, but I literally COULD NOT wait. I made these last night for early dinner, and they were sooooo amazing that I had to snap a few photos before it got dark. It being #tacotuesday and all, I thought it was more than appropriate to buckle down and write up this post to share with you today! You are so very welcome, guys!
So, I’ve got another little know fact for you guys. I worked at Chili’s as a server for about 5 years (a long, long while ago). Yup, yup I did. I loved it sometimes. I hated it most other times, and one thing is for certain, I could never work in food service ever again.
I did, however, have a creepy obsession with their honey chipotle chicken crispers. Do they even still make these? I don’t know. I haven’t been to a Chili’s in about 3 years, but one things is for certain, I still have dreams about honey chipotle chicken crispers, even if I don’t necessarily want to admit it.
I’ve seen a couple of copycat recipes floating around, but I thought I’d put my own little spin on it by making these crispy honey chipotle chicken tacos with cilantro lime rice. Poor Zach. He totally missed out. I will have to make them for him when he gets home. Luckily enough for me, I have enough leftover for tonight’s dinner! I’m literally counting down the seconds until dinner, which at this moment is approximately 18,000 seconds (if I eat at the same grandmotherly time of 4 pm, like I did yesterday). But, really, who’s counting ….
Beer pairing and recipe is below! Have a great day everyone!
OMG, do these tacos crave a pale ale. I knew immediately what I was going to pair with these crispy honey chipotle chicken tacos even before I made these honey chipotle chicken tacos. It’s that serious, guys. I definitely wanted a beer that was slightly hoppy, without being a palate-wrecker. It’s a known fact that hoppiers beers go well with spicy foods, and this case is no different. In this case, however, the chicken is also sweet. A pale ale is a nice balance. It tones down the sweetness just a notch and really enhances the flavor of the spice. Try some of these pale ales!
1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs, whisked
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 chipotles in a adobo sauce, pureed in a food processor until smooth
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup uncooked rice, cooked per manufacturer's instructions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (plus extra for garnish)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest
ranch dressing, for drizzling (optional)
10-12 corn or flour tortillas, warm
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F, and spray a large baking sheet with a non-stick spray. Set aside.
In one shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. In another shallow bowl, add the eggs. In a third shallow bowl, combine the panko and plain bread crumbs.
Taking each chicken strip, dredge in the flour and then shake to get rid of any excess. Place in the egg and douse to coat. Let any excess drip off. Then transfer the chicken strips to the bread crumb mixture, evenly coat and press down so that it adheres.
Place the chicken strips on the prepared baking sheet, and drizzle the melted butter on top. Bake at 450 degrees F for 8-10 minutes on each side or until the chicken has cooked through and is crispy. Remove from oven.
While the chicken is baking, prepare your sauce. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the honey, brown sugar, garlic, ketchup, pureed chipotles, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, whisking throughout. In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and water until the corn starch has dissolved. Add it to the saucepan, continuing to whisk until the sauce has thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
Submerge each chicken strip in the sauce, and place on a plate to the side.
Prepare your rice by, combining cooked rice, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest and a dash of salt and pepper.
Assemble your tacos by layering on rice, chicken, a drizzle of ranch dressing (if you are using) and a sprinkling of cilantro onto a warmed corn or flour tortilla. Serve immediately, and enjoy!