Sunday, January 25, 2015

Take Two...

I cheated. I used the emergency cash in my purse to cover the cost of lettuce, milk, and cucumber, since someone offered to fetch groceries for me yesterday.  It might be all a big hullabaloo, but we are supposed to have snow on Sunday.  I did not want to drive on treacherous streets if the snow is still around on Tuesday.  I thought I would pay my emergency stash back out of my budget next month.  The lettuce was so poor that I had to pull off the first three leaves, even after soaking it in cold water to freshen it back up.  Beggars can't be choosy, though.  And I will, now, be able to have pulled pork tacos before Tuesday, should my heart so desire.

Since my realtor texted me about a grocery run, I went ahead and got up much earlier than normal to receive her.  To keep myself awake whilst waiting, I stripped the bedding and started the laundry, which I knew would force me to finally give Amos a bath.  He was a bit stinky from all that Hide-and-Seek.  And a bath was long overdue.

Late last night, having been embarrassed at how many dishes were piled in my sink when Firewood Man was here, I caught up on my dishes and ran the dishwasher.  Visual Rest in the kitchen has slipped since I've been ill.  SIGH.

Anyway, after starting the laundry, I emptied the dishwasher.  Then I filled the sink with cold water (thanks, Celia, for teaching me this!) to thaw out one of my two pork sirloin roasts.  I wanted to start another batch of pulled pork.  Once Leslie left and Amos was bathed, we konked out in the GREEN chair for over four hours.  We were both dead to the world.

When I awoke, I started the pulled pork, worked on the laundry, and set chicken and bottles of orange juice portions to thaw, because I also wanted to try pulled chicken again.  I made the bed and pulled off the duvet cover to fill out a fourth load of laundry.  I still had all of Amos' bath towels from last time and the ones from yesterday and all of my pajamas to wash ... again.

Mostly, I puttered all evening, moving from one task to the other and studiously avoiding the vacuum I set in the middle of the kitchen to remind me that I have not tended the floors since I fell ill December 20th.  Nor have I dusted.  Or mopped.  With my basement freezer all stocked up with Spicy Dr Pepper Pulled Pork again, the laundry all put away, fresh containers of cucumber water and Gatorade made, I turned my attention to the chicken.

The first time I tried pulled chicken, it just didn't turn out the way I wanted.  I ate it several different ways, the best being as a chalupa topping.  The second best was to simply eat it on a bun with some barbecue sauce.  It has flavor, but not stand-alone flavor, not enhancing-a-dish flavor.  I wanted chicken that could compete with the most lovely Spicy Dr Pepper Pulled Pork.

For my Spicy Pulled Chicken Take Two, I focused on blending spices that would work with orange juice.  I saw several Mexican dishes that used orange juice when I was recipe hunting last year.  I even used it in my first attempt at pulled chicken, but I also used beer.  This time, I wanted to have only orange juice as my wet ingredient.

If you look at the ingredient list, you'll note that I was trying to stick with Mexican spice combinations, even though I did not have any chilis that would have fit better.  I do have Chipotle Chili Pepper, so I used that.  Being impatient, I used onion powder and garlic powder just to see if the flavors worked, since I have neither of those fresh ingredients in my larder at the moment.  In my opinion, they did!

Once the chicken was cooked, I carefully transferred it to a bowl and set about reducing the sauce at a rapid boil.  By doing so, I got back a hint of the orange juice, the spices, and concentrated the heat a bit.  I think folk who like hot food might want to double the Chipotle Chili Pepper.  I might even at least add 50% more next time.  For this recipe is most definitely a keeper in my mind.

When I was transferring the sauce back to the chicken, I used a strainer. I figured that any chicken that had fallen off during the removal of the cooked chicken would have been wildly overcooked from the rapid boiling.  I gave Amos the  bits pictured here.  He loved them.

This was the end result, after tossing the shredded chicken and sauce thoroughly.  What I liked is that I did not end up with the runny sauce like I did during my  first stab at making pulled chicken.  In short, the chicken is moist and flavorful and can stand alone in taste, which was my goal.

I ended up with twelve servings; the double portion went straight into the refrigerator. I cannot wait to try tacos with this pulled chicken.  I also think it will make a fine addition to my chalupas.  And, perhaps, I could make burritos with it.  In any case, I will admit that in transferring the pulled chicken to the storage containers, I tasted it several times.  Could we call that quality checks??

I think the chicken is a bit smoky, a bit sweet, and a bit spicy.  I thought I would try it first as a taco and put some lime juice on top.  Of course, I have to make another batch (or two) of the Texas Flour Tortillas, because I am completely out of them.

Right now, I am still not vacuuming.  Instead, I am readying myself for a nap even though I have only been up long enough to eat and write.  And then I plan on cleaning out the ashes, so that I can lay another fire and roast myself whilst reading more of the commentary on Luke.

Making tortillas should take precedence over vacuuming, right??

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