I had to go to Bozeman yesterday to do some errands, and I had lunch at my favorite little restaurant, La Tinga. There aren’t many things I miss from California, but taquerias and Asian food are among them. I had about ten minutes before my haircut, so I ducked in for a taco or two, including one that had chicken and potatoes and a mildly-hot red chile sauce. It blew my mind. I hadn’t really expected it to, but something about the plain mealy potatoes and the chiles, with a little chicken in the mix, it was delicious. On the way home, I was still obsessed with that flavor, so I broke out the Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless cookbooks, and went to work. I wound up pretty much following a recipe from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant flavors of a World-Class Cuisine for Smoky Shredded Chicken and Potatoes with Spicy Roasted Tomatoes. Well, as much as I’m capable of following a recipe anyhow.
Here’s what I did: chopped and sauteed an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, then added a can of tomatoes, about four chipolte chiles with a little bit of their sauce, a generous tablespoon or so of the oregano I dried last fall, and a big sprinkling of the New Mexican Chile that my friend Deb sent me from Chimayo. It looked a little dry, so I added a half-pint jar of my own tomato sauce I put up last fall, which is kind of watery. I let that simmer for a bit while I peeled and diced three big russet potatoes, and cut a package of Coleman Organic chicken thighs into little pieces. The Sweetheart came home about then, cold and tired after a day of roofing in spring snow squalls, so while he climbed in a hot bathtub, I added the chicken and potatoes to the sauce and let the whole thing simmer on low for about an hour or so while we chatted and read the papers and hung out.
We ate it last night with warm tortillas, chopped scallions and cilantro, and sour cream. This morning, I heated up a burrito and topped it with a fried egg. I am crazy in love with this flavor. It’s not too spicy, and I think it’d be just as delicious without the chicken (or you could also add pork instead of chicken). Something about the potato and chiles together is really wonderful. This might become a staple around here, especially for breakfast.