Smoked Paprika Chicken Tacos with Spicy Goat Cheese

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I love tacos.  I love smoke paprika and I really, really love goat cheese!  This recipe combines all of these wonderful ingredients into an amazing taco (another one of my favorites – I could eat tacos all of the time!).

Serves 4

Time: 1 hour + a little extra

Chicken Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1.5  teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 limes, sliced into wedges
1 sweet onion, sliced thickly into 8 slices
Spicy Goat Cheese Queso
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 jalapeño pepper, diced
2garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Taco Additions
corn tortillas for serving
chopped tomatoes
sliced avocado
cilantro, de-stemed

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. Combine the smoked paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder in a small bowl.

3. Place the sliced onion all over the bottom of the baking dish, rub the chicken with the spices and then place the chicken on top of the onions.  Set the lime wedges in between the chicken. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool slightly, then shred.

4.  For the spicy goat cheese queso, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the diced jalapeño and garlic.  Simmer, without burning, for about 1 – 2 minutes.  Once the butter mixture is slightly boiling whisk in flour to create a roux.   Turn to low and let simmer for another 1-2 minutes until the roux is golden brown and bubbly.  Then, pour the milk in whisking until smooth and combined (keeping heat on low).   Once the roux has slightly thickened add the goat cheese and stir until the cheese melts and is creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

5. Slice the tomatoes and avocado and tear off the cilantro leaves from the steam.

6. Once the chicken has cooked shred into bite sized pieces.  Heat up the tacos until soft, scoop out some chicken onto each taco and add the vegetables and place a dollop of the goat cheese queso on top.

 

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Buttermilk Sauce

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Let me tell you right from the beginning that I will never be making gnocchi by hand again.  Ever again.  Unless I have like 10 people helping me.  These little potato wonders took me forever to form.  My feet were hurting me and I was bored out of my mind.  So, while I’m posting this recipe I don’t recommend making it unless you have help, at least two other people (10 people is a little over the top).

The buttermilk sauce was to die for, so I will be making that again.  Just not with home made gnocchi.

 

Gnocchi:
2 pounds sweet potatoes (as close as you can get
1 large egg yolk
1 container whole milk ricotta
2 cups all purpose flour (plus a little more if needed
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1) Cut the sweet potatoes into about 3″ pieces and stab all over with a fork, wrap in a damp paper towel and steam in your microwave until they are tender all the way through when pierced – they need to be super tender.  Rotate every 5 minutes per side for medium sized potatoes (it took about 20+ minutes).  You can also roast the potatoes in your preheated 400° F oven about 50-60 minutes.
2) While the potatoes are still hot carefully slice in half and then scoop out the flesh.  If you have a potato ricer push the innards through it – I didn’t have one and just shredded with a box grater.
3) After the shredded potatoes have cooled to room temperature add the egg yolk, crumble the ricotta on top, and sprinkle 1/2 cup of the flour on top.  Cut in those ingredients with a spatula using a chopping motion until mixed.  Add in an additional 1/4 cup of flour at a time and fold it in.  After the dough is not sticky you can use your hands (make sure that they are lightly floured).  Use additional flour as needed so that the dough is not sticky (think of bread dough).
4) Gather the dough into a ball, lightly pat dough into a disc, and then form it into a compact log and let it rest for 5 minutes.
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5) Cut log into 8 segments. Lightly flour your counter or board.  Roll one segment out at a time into 1” thick logs cutting the logs into individual 1″ pieces.   You can create grooves by  rolling on a gnocchi board or with the tines of a fork (what I did).  Place your formed gnocchi on a plate and refrigerate until ready to cook.  They can be frozen on the sheet and then placed into a ziplock bag and kept in the freezer up to 3 months, once you are ready to cook them place directly into boiling water.
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Buttermilk Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cayenne (more if you want an extra kick)
1/2 cup packed grated gruyere cheese (about ½ cup, packed)
1) Melt the butter over low heat, once melted gently stir in the flour.  Bring the mixture to a bubble on medium low and let cook about two minutes – do not brown or burn!! In another pot warm buttermilk slowly and add the salt until just warm – do not let it get too hot or it will curdle!!
2) Slowly pour the warm buttermilk into your roux (butter and flour) whisking vigorously. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium high heat being sure to whisk constantly until the sauce has thickened.
3) Once it has remove from the heat and stir in the nutmeg & cayenne to taste.  Then stir in the shredded cheese until it has fully melted.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
To Serve:
12 figs, quartered (if you can find fresh hooray! if not dried work perfectly well)
6 slices pancetta – fried crispy and crumbled
fresh chives – chopped fine
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1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi. Give them a gentle stir after a few seconds to prevent sticking. Cook about 5 minutes or until they float to the top. Remove and drain.
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flour on the forehead!

2) Toss with the buttermilk sauce, pancetta, and figs.
3) Sprinkle with the chives and serve immediately.

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