Crispy Chicken Tacos with Gouda Pimento Cheese.
Ooooh baby we are making some high-maintenance crispy chicken tacos today!
They have ALL the things. Smoke gouda pimento cheese. Lime salted slaw. Quick pickled onions. I mean, what are we missing?
Nothing. We’re not missing a thing!
Please don’t leave me.
This is another fun (and embarrassingly untraditional) way that we can mesh two of our favorite holidays this weekend! And it’s also another taco that I was inspired to make by Ba-Co. Eeeep. Their tacos are SO good. I can’t stop thinking about them!
So I must just make them myself.
Soft and pillowy flour tortillas with some char on the edges. A spread of creamy dreamy pimento cheese, topped with a crunchy, crisp lime slaw.
Next comes the crispy chicken bites. And then a sprinkle of pickled onions, if only for the pink.
Well, not ONLY for the pink – pickled onions make everything taste better.
These ingredients all go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Like bacon and eggs. Like tomatoes and basil.
I actually fried the chicken. Not deep DEEP fried it, but fried it in a shallow pan. And it’s good. Worth it. Delicious.
But also very impractical if you want to serve these for a dinner party or for friends, you know? I never want my house to smell like I’ve been frying food.
So I’m going to tell you what to do. If you’re making these for yourself, your partner, your family or close friends, and you don’t have to worry about a super clean kitchen at dinnertime, fry these darn things up. They are SO GOOD. The chicken stays so moist and flavorful and the outside is SO crunchy. It’s not crisp – it’s downright CRUNCHY.
I really can’t even describe how GOOD these are.
The kicker is that they have to be served immediately for the best taste and texture (though I do admit Eddie reheated this chicken twice over two days and enjoyed it), so they are tricky to serve at a party or for a big group dinner when you want your kitchen to look semi-presentable.
If you want to make these for a larger party or you find yourself in a situation where your kitchen shouldn’t look like a disaster zone, or frankly, you just don’t WANT to fry them, then I suggest this option below:
Make the chicken as written in this crispy chicken recipe right here. Bread and bake the whole chicken breast, then slice it up for the tacos. Still tastes fantastic.
There are a few things that are super important for giving these babies the legit taco feel.
(I swear these tips make a difference for this recipe. Swear!)
-Warm your tortillas! Whether this means using a tortilla warmer, sticking them in the oven for a minute or charring them on your gas range (… like I do), a warm tortilla makes these fantastic.
-Serve your pimento cheese at room temperature-ish. I mean, okay, don’t let it sit out for hours upon hours, but let it come to room temperature for 30 minutes or so. By doing so, it kind of melts into the warm tortilla and creates more of a “saucy” feel. It also easily spreads on the tortilla this way.
-Layer your slaw ON the pimento cheese spread, before your chicken. This gives the slaw something to adhere to, so it stays in the tacos and provides that fresh crunch that we all love so much. It also warms up a bit between the taco and the chicken.
-If necessary, cut your chicken into slices or pieces once it’s fried. This way, you don’t have a huge chunk of chicken that prevents you from properly folding your taco, and everything marries together in a nicer, cleaner, tastier way.
Thank you for coming to me faux taco Ted talk.
These are heaven-sent, for sure.
Crispy Chicken Tacos with Pimento Cheese
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts , cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 ½ cups beer or seltzer water
- vegetable oil for frying
- 12 ounces smoked gouda cheese, freshly grated
- 1 4- ounce jar of pimentos, drained
- 4 ounces 1/2 block cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups shredded napa cabbage
- ½ cup shredded red cabbage
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for topping
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
In a large bowl, whisk together the 3 cups of flour, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder.
In another large bowl, whisk together the 1 ½ cups flour, salt, pepper, egg yolks and beer/seltzer until smooth. We’re going to triple dip the chicken!
Heat a pot or heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat and add an inch or of oil. I like to do it this way so I’m using a TON of oil, but if you have a deep fryer or want to add 3 to 4 inches of oil in a pot, you can. It’s best to fit the pot with a candy thermometer as you want the oil to reach about 325-350 degrees F and you don’t want it to burn. Don’t dip your chicken until the oil is almost ready.
Take the chicken pieces and dip in the “dry” flour mix first, totally coating the pieces. Dip them in the beer batter, coating completely, then dip again in the dry flour. Drop the pieces into the oil, frying only 3 to 4 pieces at a time so the oil temp doesn’t drop. Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and fry for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the chicken and place it on a paper towel-lined plate, then repeat with the remaining chicken.
To assemble the tacos, warm your tortillas in the oven. Spread the tortillas with a few spoonfuls of pimento cheese. Top with a handful of the lime slaw. Add a few chicken pieces of top. Top with the pickled onions and you’re in heaven! If desired, you can add a sprinkling of cotija cheese.
Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well until combined. You will have some leftovers, so store it in a sealed container in the fridge! Best dip with crackers and veggies, woohoo!
Combine the cabbage and cilantro together in a bowl. Toss with the lime and the salt. I like to make this about 20 minutes ahead of time so the cabbage slightly softens.
Place the onions in a jar or cup. In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour over the sliced onions. Let sit at room temperature for an hour. You can obviously make this ahead of time and once made, store it in the fridge in a sealed container or jar. They last for about a week in the fridge! Love them.
Actually jealous of my previous self for eating these.