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Taco Truck by Jamie Bordoshuk

The last Saturday in August is a big day in my neighborhood. At 3 p.m. sharp, the street is closed off, the  bounce house is inflated and the tables and chairs start lining the driveways. It’s our annual block party, and for the past 15 years it’s been our way of saying hello to each other and goodbye to summer.

We’ve kept some traditions from year to year: Musical Chairs for the grown-ups, the bike parade for the kids and the family vs. family water balloon fight. The DJ keeps us going late into the night until we cap the party off with an impressive fireworks display that lights up the sky with sprays of gold, red, blue, green and white glimmering sparks.

But everyone knows that a block party is only as good as the food. And ours is no exception. If you live on the north side of the street, you bring an appetizer to share. The southsiders bring dessert. It’s common to find homemade Chinese egg rolls, Indian samosas with green curry dipping sauce and Italian tiramisu sitting next to each other – a mini-replica of the cultures lining my street.

taco movilInspired by the diversity of the neighborhood, our homeowner’s association decided to mix it up for the main course this year: the Taco Movil. This taco truck was really something – with flashing lights, two serving counters and a huge side buffet filled with endless salsas, shredded cheese, greens and guacamole.   

It was impossible to choose between the beef, chicken or chorizo tacos, the pork carnitas and the spicy chipotle chicken tostadas. So I had them all.  

Here’s my take on the Spicy Chipotle Chicken Tostadas.

Spicy Chipotle Chicken Tostadas
Yields 16
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Spicy Chicken Topping
  1. 1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more to taste
  2. 2 lbs. skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
  3. 1 (28-ounce) crushed, drained tomatoes
  4. 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, plus 2 T. adobo sauce
  5. 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
  6. 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  7. 2 t. ground cumin
  8. 1 medium white onion, diced
  9. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  10. 4-6 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo (about 1/2 cup), casings removed, crumbled, fried until almost crisp (optional)
Tostadas
  1. 16 store-bought crispy tostada shells
  2. Kosher salt (if needed)
  3. 14 oz. can refried beans
  4. shredded iceberg lettuce
  5. thinly sliced white onion
  6. Mexican crema or sour cream
  7. queso fresco
  8. cilantro leaves with tender stems
Make the spicy chicken topping
  1. Fill a large pot with 8 cups water; stir in 1/4 cup salt. Add chicken and simmer over medium-low heat until just cooked through, about 45 minutes. Drain, then chop or tear chicken into bite-size chunks. Discard bones.
  2. Meanwhile, purée tomatoes, chiles, adobo sauce, pepper, cinnamon, and cumin in a blender until smooth.
  3. Cook onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sweet and charred (you want more char than "caramelization"), 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes longer. Add tomato mixture to skillet, reduce heat, simmer, partially covered, about 30 minutes. Divide tomato mixture in half, freeze half for another day. Add chicken and chorizo, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is well-coated and moist and liquid is reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes more.
  4. Season with salt, if needed.
Assemble the tostadas
  1. Spread 1 Tablespoon refried beans on a tostada shell.
  2. Top with 1/4 cup spicy chicken topping, then lettuce, onion, crema, queso fresco, and cilantro.
  3. Repeat with remaining tostada shells.
  4. Serve at room temperature.
Notes
  1. Spicy chicken topping can be chilled for up to 3 days. Reheat and let cool to room temperature before using.
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

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