On National Taco Day, Bobby Flay serves 'em up

Friday, Oct. 4 is National Taco Day! Who better to help celebrate the glories of the taco than the master of Mexican cuisine, chef Bobby Flay? Here, Flay shares his signature recipes for pulled chicken tacos, braised pork shoulder tacos and spicy pineapple margaritas.

Pulled chicken taco
Servings:

Makes 15 servings

Ingredients

  • For pickled saffron onions:

    • Pinch saffron
    • 1/4 cup boiling water
    • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • For piquillo pepper relish:

    • 8 piquillo peppers, small dice
    • 1 serrano chile
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon aged sherry vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • For Spanish spice rub:

    • 1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika, sweet
    • 1 tablespoon good quality paprika
    • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
    • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 tablespoon salt
  • For taco:

    • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 3 tablespoons Spanish spice rub
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium Spanish onion, diced
    • 6 garlic cloves, smashed but left whole
    • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
    • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, drained from their liquid
    • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
    • 4 ounces aged Manchego cheese, finely grated
    • Piquillo pepper relish
    • Saffron pickled onions
    • 15 soft corn tortillas

Preparation

Baking Directions:

For onions:1. Put pinch of saffron in small bowl and carefully pour in the boiling water. Set aside to bloom for flavor and color to develop. 2. Place onions in a medium bowl and set aside.3. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt and bloomed saffron and its liquid to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and carefully pour liquid over onions. Set aside to cool slightly, can cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.For piquillo pepper relish:Put the piquillo peppers, vinegar, honey, olive oil and parsley in a medium bowl. Toss to combine and set aside. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.For Spanish spice rub:In a small bowl combine all the spices and mix to combine. Set aside.For taco:1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.2. Heavily season both sides of chicken with the spice rub.3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a roasting pan or large braising pan on high heat until oil begins to shimmer.  Add the chicken to the pan and sear until golden brown on both sides. Add the onion, garlic, thyme sprigs, tomatoes and chicken stock to the pan. 4. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and put in the oven. Braise in the oven for 1 hour until chicken is fork tender. Remove and let cool slightly. 5. Remove and discard thyme sprigs and transfer chicken and ½ cup of the braising liquid to a bowl.  Using tongs or 2 forks, gently shred chicken into bite sized pieces. Add cheese to the chicken mixture and toss to coat.6. Divide the mixture among the corn tortillas. Top each taco with some relish and pickled onions.

Braised pork shoulder taco
Servings:

Makes 15 servings

Ingredients

  • For jicama cabbage slaw:

    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 small jicama, peeled and finely julienned
    • 1/2 head Napa cabbage, finely shredded
    • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
  • For taco:

    • For taco:
    • 3 pounds, boneless pork shoulder, fat cap removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
    • 2 tablespoons New Mexican chile powder (can substitute good quality basic chile powder)
    • 1 teaspoon arbol chile powder (can substitute cayenne)
    • 2 tablespoons salt
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 medium Spanish onion, diced
    • 10 cloves garlic, smashed but left whole
    • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
    • 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice, good quality
    • 1 cup pomegranate juice, good quality
    • 1 cup of your favorite brand barbecue sauce
    • 15 large radicchio leaves
    • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Preparation

Baking Directions:

For jicama cabbage slaw:1. Whisk together the lime juice, salt and sugar in a large bowl.2. Add the jicama, cabbage and cilantro to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.For taco:1. Preheat oven 325 degrees.2. Put diced pork into a large bowl and season with the chile powders and salt, tossing to coat evenly.  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a roasting pan or large braising pan on high heat until oil begins to shimmer.  Add the pork to the pan and sear meat until golden brown on all sides. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes to extract flavor. Add the chicken stock, and the fruit juices to the pan.  4. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and put in the oven. Braise in the oven for 1 ½ hours until pork is fork tender. Remove and let cool slightly.  5. Carefully remove pork from braising liquid and transfer meat to bowl, making sure not to break meat apart too much. Add barbecue sauce, 1/2 cup at first and toss gently to lightly coat. If necessary add the remaining 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce to pork.6. Divide the mixture among the radicchio leaves. Top each taco with some of the jicama-cabbage slaw and garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Spicy pineapple margarita
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 2 cups fresh pineapple juice
    • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh pineapple
    • 1 fresno chile, coarsely chopped
    • 6 ounces reposada tequila, such as Hornitos
    • Ice cubes

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Combine the pineapple juice, pineapple, chile and tequila in a blender and blend until smooth.  Serve over ice.

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