Chicken Tacos with Jalapeño Goat Cheese Queso

In light of Cinco de Mayo this weekend and my taco salad cooking demo on Monday, I hereby declare this Taco Week on Cooking with Cara!

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Tacos were actually one of the few foods I didn’t like as a kid. The flavors from the seasoning packet never appealed to me, and I always ended up with more food on my plate than in my mouth with those flimsy crispy taco shells. Being the hungry kid that I was, food on plate and not in mouth did not a happy kid make.

I think I started to like tacos again when I moved to NYC my freshman year at NYU and discovered that tacos don’t all come in stale shells with mystery-spiced meat. And even better, tacos are best served with margaritas. Yum. (these spicy grapefruit margs are SO GOOD)

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These tacos are a far cry from the messy meat/cheese/shell crumble I’d end up making on my plate as a kid. The chicken is smoky from all the spices and super tender from roasting in the oven. But the real star is the goat cheese queso. With some nice heat from the jalapeño and a mild tang from the cheese, this sauce really elevates these tacos from anything you ate from a box as a kid.

Roasted Chicken Tacos with Jalapeño Goat Cheese Queso adapted from How Sweet It Is

serves 4-6

Ingredients:

for the chicken:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 yellow onion, sliced

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 lime, cut into wedges

for the queso:

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp flour

1/2 cup milk

6 oz goat cheese, crumbled

for the tacos:

corn tortillas

chopped tomatoes

prepared guacamole or sliced avocado

extra goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray and line the bottom with onion slices.

2. Combine spices in a small bowl and rub onto both sides of the chicken.

3. Place chicken in an even layer on top of the onions. Place lime wedges in between the chicken. Cover with foil and cook 45-60 minutes. Remove the chicken, let cool slightly, then shred with two forks.

4. Just before you shred the chicken, make the queso. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add butter, jalapeño and garlic. Cook until butter is just sizzling 1-2 minutes, then add flour. Stir for another 1-2 minutes until golden and bubbly to create a roux. Pour in the milk and turn heat down to low. Whisk until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, then add goat cheese and stir until completely melted. Remove from the heat to serve.

5. To assemble the tacos, warm your tortillas (I like to place them between 2 slightly damp paper towels and nuke them in the microwave for 45-60 seconds) then layer with chicken, tomatoes, guacamole, goat cheese queso and whatever other toppings you like! The chicken and goat cheese queso also heat up well in the microwave for leftovers later.

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