Tonight, with my counterpart skim-coating the new ceiling in our bathroom, I was provided with another opportunity to try my luck in the kitchen. Regular readers know that the results of my cooking do indeed appear to depend on luck - sometimes good, sometimes bad, but generally indifferent. But tonight I had one of my rare successes, and this time luck had nothing to do with it.
I started small with a one-course meal - chicken burritos. I knew we had everything on hand and that it wouldn't require me to have to deal with a sauce and a side dish, and I could just focus in on the meat filling.
I started with three boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I seasoned with salt, pepper, ground coriander, cumin, and oregano. Now, most people do not usually associate oregano with Mexican food, but this is a very good secret ingredient that adds a little depth to your taco meat. You don't need much - just a shake or two over your meat.
I cooked my chicken thighs whole in some olive oil until the exterior looked to bee cooked. I removed them from the pan and tossed in about a quarter of a white onion and just over half a jalapeno, both chopped. I let them cook in the chicken drippings while I cut the thighs into equally-sized strips. Once the onion became slightly translucent, I put the meat back in the pan and added some fresh tomato. I used one small tomato plus four cherry tomatoes.
I let everything simmer until the tomato juice had thickened. The end result was tender, juicy, evenly-cooked chicken with a well-rounded flavor and a little bit of kick. I rolled it up in a flour tortilla with black beans, cheddar cheese, avocado, fresh cilantro, and sour cream.
This was one of the most flavorful meals I've cooked since my counterpart took ownership of this aspect of our lives. It worked because I aimed small with a one-dish meal and was able to maintain my focus on the element of the meal that required the most attention. For the novice in the kitchen, focus is really key. We all want to be able to create brilliant, surprising, cutting edge meals, and that starts with small, focused efforts like this.