Friday, February 1, 2013

Fried Chicken Tostadas

I realized recently that many of my recipes are the result of using up an overabundance of ingredients I purchased at Costco. When you buy 87 peaches or 3,000 pounds of quinoa for a family of two adults, you need to get creative.

Almost every time I go to Costco, I pick up a rotisserie chicken. Sometimes we eat it with mashed potatoes and veggies for dinner. Sometimes I slice it up for sandwiches during the week. Sometimes I chop or shred it into bite-sized pieces and toss it into the freezer to use in a recipe later.

Since I keep a supply of chopped-up chicken at the ready, I'm always looking for creative ways to use it up. The husband is a lover of all things fried, so instead of offering up enchiladas or chicken packets, I suggested we have tostadas for dinner. He was psyched.

This recipe is more of a guideline. If you don't have cooked chicken on hand, it's the perfect way to get rid of the remnants of a pot roast. Or skip the meat and season up a can of black beans instead. Make it your own based on what you have on hand.

Fried Chicken Tostadas

Cooked chicken (or pork or beef), chopped or shredded into bite-sized pieces
Chili powder (I swoon over Penzey's Chili 9000. Just my personal opinion.)
Shredded cheese
Refried beans
Sour cream
Vegetable oil
Flour tortillas
Chopped lettuce

Make sure all of your tostada components are ready to go before you fry up your tortillas. This way you can serve the tortillas when they're fresh and hot. I start with the chicken. Sprinkle the cooked chicken with chili powder to taste. Stir in about a teaspoon of water to make sure it doesn't dry out, and microwave the seasoned chicken until it's piping hot. Set aside.

Next I get the refried beans ready. My pal Therese taught me how to jazz up canned refried beans: simply stir in a spoonful of sour cream and then heat them up in the microwave. I don't have an exact ratio to share; it just depends on how creamy and tangy you want your beans. Just put a heaping spoonful in there and give it a taste. You can always add more.

Once that stuff is ready, pour about 1/2" of vegetable oil into a skillet over medium-high heat. Allow the oil to heat up for about two minutes. Test to see if it's hot enough by placing a tiny piece of tortilla in the hot oil. If bubbles form all around the tortilla and it starts to cook immediately, then it's ready. Gently place one tortilla into the oil and fry for 1-3 minutes on each side, until it puffs up a little bit and turns golden brown. The exact timing depends on how hot your oil is, so just keep an eye on it to make sure your tortilla doesn't burn. Place the fried tortilla on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Schmear each cooked tortilla with refried beans. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of that, then add some chicken. Top with lettuce, sour cream, and salsa.

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