A genius way to get the effect of slow cooked and pulled chicken for tacos in a fraction of the time – and with (almost) no washing up! Use foil as both your prep area and your baking dish to get this dish done with minimal fuss.
- 1 large or 2 small chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- (optional) 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Tacos or tortillas or cooked rice
- Any salad on hand – tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, onion, avocado, capsicum.
- Grated cheese
- Sour cream or plain Greek yoghurt
- Salsa from a jar, guacamole dip or other fast condiments your family enjoys.
- Preheat oven to 180C and have a middle rack available.
- Cut two sheets of aluminium foil, each about 40-50cm long. Criss-cross them flat on your bench (see Notes).
- Place the paprika, brown sugar, salt, white pepper and (if using) cayenne in the middle of the foil and mix together with the measuring spoon. Spread out a little.
- Slice chicken breasts horizontally by holding flat on cutting board with your hand and turning the knife parallel to the board. This exposes more chicken to the flavouring and helps to cook evenly.
- Put the chicken slices over the mixed spices on the foil and roll about until all sides are coloured with the dry flavourings.
- Overlap the slices to form a rough square within the overlap of the two foil sheets. Lift the two ends of the top sheet until they meet and roll tightly down to the level of the chicken, then fold the other sides of that sheet over the rolled seam. Repeat with the bottom sheet of foil. A tight seal is vital for the magic to happen inside.
- Place foil package, seam sides up, directly on the middle rack of the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the rest of the taco meal: slice and chop salad vegetables, add cheese and other condiments to bowls, store in fridge until ready.
- 5 minutes before timer is due to go off, add any taco shells or tortillas to the base of the oven according to the maker’s directions.
- When timer goes off, carefully unwrap a section of the parcel and stick a fork in to twist. Chicken should pull away easily. If not, seal up the foil and return to oven for another 10 minutes.
- When chicken is ready, open up the foil and, leaving chicken inside, roll back to form a flat bottomed bowl
- Work with two forks to pull the meat apart. There will be a liquid sauce around the base – when all chicken is pulled, mix the sauce thoroughly through the meat.
- Take to the table along with the salad, condiments and warmed taco shells, tortillas etc.
- All foils are not created equal! If your aluminium parcel feels flimsy with the two layers, add a third or use a baking tray to support the parcel in the oven.
- Add thinly sliced onion and/or sliced chillies to the chicken parcel for a richer or spicier flavour.
- Got time to make a bigger feast? Become an UnYucky Cooks Club member and check out this Saturday Night Family Mexican Feast!