OK so I didn't actually spend Christmas with JO, but boyfriend of the year (2013 anyway) did get me a cooking lesson at JO's cookery school in Notting Hill as my Christmas present!
Because Sam loves any form of food encased in tortilla wraps, (Nando's is his Mecca) he chose the Mexican street food course, and it was brilliant. We got a glass of wine on arrival (drinking whilst cooking = winner) and had a private lesson with one of JO's chefs called Colleen who taught us to make chicken tacos with a sticky chipotle chilli sauce. She even offered me a childs apron. How sweet of her.
Nevertheless, here is the recipe.
2 teaspoons whole cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 large dried chilli
4 cloves garlic - peeled
8 chicken thighs on the bone
Olive oil for frying
3.5 cups passata
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 heaped dessert spoon castor sugar
100gms chipotle chilli sauce
4 flour tortiallas
2 baby gem lettuce - washed & leaves picked off
2 - 3 limes
Small bunch of fresh coriander
1 red onion - thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes
2 strips spring onion - thinly sliced on an angle
For The Gorditas
250g masa harina (or fine cornmeal)
30g baking powder
20g plain flour Pinch of salt
300ml hot water Plain flour for dusting
Oil for frying
Put the cumin, oregano, dried chilli and garlic into a small blender and whizz up. Lightly oil the chicken and season with salt and pepper, then take 1⁄2 your dry seasoning mixture and rub into the chicken all over. Add a lug of olive oil to a large pan and when the oil is hot fry the chicken on both sides until golden brown.
Turn the heat down and add in the passata, vinegar, sugar, chipotle chilli sauce and the remaining dry seasoning mixture. Turn the heat to low, put a lid on the pan and simmer the chicken until cooked through. This should take about 20 - 25 minutes, depending on how big your chicken is. Check it is cooked before removing from the heat. Your sauce should be thick and sweet, if not remove the chicken and put the pan back on the stove and reduce the sauce until it is thick and sticky.
To assemble your taco: Remove chicken from the sauce and pull all the meat off the bone, discard the bones. Lay your flour tortillas out flat on a board spread on about a tablespoon of the thick sticky chipotle sauce, then add in your cooked chicken, spoon over some of Jamie’s Mexican Salsa Verde, then 2-3 baby gem leaves, sprinkle over some picked coriander leaves, some lime juice, chopped tomatoes, sliced red onions and the sliced spring onions. Roll up tightly then cut in half and enjoy eating.
For the gorditas, put the masa harina and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Mix the baking powder into the hot water and pour this into the well. Using a fork, mix the masa harina into the liquid and when it starts to come together use your hands to knead it.
Divide the dough into 14 or so equal squash-ball-sized pieces and dust them lightly with flour.
Roll each piece around in your hands, then pat and flatten into a small round roughly the size of the base of a wine glass. Put these on an oiled tray, dust with a little flour and put aside until ready to fry. Fry within 1 hour of making.
Now I won't lie Sam does lose boyfriend points for failing to arrange a meet and greet with the man himself, but it was a totes pukka xmas present.
Most enjoyably it proved that Sam does not in fact have a photographic memory because he kept forgetting the method. Amateur. Although he has been arrested before so perhaps that might land him a job at Fifteen.
Merry Christmas! x