How do you make tacos even better? Stack ’em!
I made these scrumptious stacks using leftover frozen Pork Carnitas but I’ve also provided directions for making these with chicken – super quick!. Every time I make tacos this way, I wonder why I bother with the traditional method. There is something about “stacked” food that’s irresistible. It’s so satisfying to cut into the stack and turn a pretty pile into a delicious mess.
Yup. That’s my kind of food. Messy food is always the best. Like wings. Sauce smeared all over your face, sticky hands, and your bib (or shirt) so filthy you look like you were in a food fight.
Messy food is fun. Don’t you think? Gone are the days of wanting to dine gracefully, in a quiet, elegant restaurant where you feel too terrified to laugh out loud for fear of being frowned upon by fellow diners. Where waiters give you a look of scorn if you dare to pick up the wrong fork for your starter (I’m thinking Pretty Woman here, where Julia Roberts had no idea which fork to use for her shrimp cocktail!).
So this is my kind of food. Fun. Scrumptious. Messy. Easy. FAST.
I made these with small tortillas – the ones you can get that are around 6″/12cm wide. But they could be made with tostadas as well (which are just fried tortillas), though the texture is completely different because they are crunchy rather than soft. I bake the tortillas just briefly so they hold their shape better when the stack is put together. But they aren’t crisp like tostadas. Tostadas would be harder to eat, I think. Because you can’t spear the tostadas with a fork, you either need to use a spoon or use the tostadas to scoop up the filling (which would make it nachos-like, I guess!)
I made these with 4 tortillas in each stack – 3 layers of meat / cheese. But you can make the smaller or taller, depending on your appetite / how many people you are feeding!
- 8 small tortillas, corn or flour (around 6" / 12 cm rounds)
- 3 cups shredded Pork Carnitas or Quick Mexican Chicken (see below)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ cups grated cheese (I used Monterey Jack. See Note 1 for other suggestions)
- 1¼ cups corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned (drained) (I used frozen)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, diced (or 2 medium tomatos, deseeded and diced, around 1½ cups (Note 2))
- 2 shallots / scallions, green part only, sliced
- ½ lime, juice only (add more or less to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1.2lb / 600g chicken thigh fillets, skinless and boneless, cut into 1cm / 2/5" slices (Note 3)
- 1 tsp garlic powder (or add 1 minced garlic clove into the oil in the fry pan)
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp oregano
- Pinch of cayenne or chili powder (for heat - adjust to taste)
- 1½ tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 1 lime, juice only
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Sour cream
- Cilantro / coriander
- Jalapeños, finely chopped
- Avocado, diced
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
- Prepare either the Pork Carnitas or Quick Mexican Chicken.
- Place the corn tortillas in the oven (I do it directly on the shelf) and bake for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, just to make them a bit stiff but not browned.
- Place a tortilla on a baking tray. Scatter ⅙th of the Pork Carnitas or Quick Mexican Chicken on the tortilla and top with Salsa (reserve some for Topping) then cheese. Place another tortilla on top and repeat, then again (so you end up with 3 layers of meat. Place the 4th tortilla on top. I don't put anything on it, but you could sprinkle some cheese if you want.
- Repeat with remaining 4 tortillas.
- Bake for 10 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted (it does not take long).
- Remove from oven.
- Top with remaining Salsa and Toppings of choice (I used sour cream, avocado, jalapeño and coriander/cilantro)
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the corn and sauté for a couple of minutes until charred to your liking. (This step is optional)
- Allow to cool slightly, then toss with remaining Salsa ingredients.
- Defrost (if using frozen), then heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large fry pan over high heat.
- Add Pork Carnitas and cooking until the underside is golden brown (do not flip - Note 4).
- Remove from pan (scrape up all the brown bits) and set aside.
- Combine all ingredients other than the oil in a bowl and toss to combine.
- Heat the oil in a large fry pan over high heat.
- Add the chicken and sauté until browned and cooked through.
- Remove chicken from the fry pan. Allow to cool then either roughly chop into smaller pieces or use a fork to "shred".
2. I scoop the juice out of the tomatoes so the salsa is not too watery. Otherwise the tortillas get rather soggy while baking. To deseed the tomatoes, just cut in half and use a teaspoon to scoop out the watery inside. Just roughly is fine.
3. I use chicken thigh fillets because I find breast too dry for this type of recipe. If you use a salsa dip style sauce to add "juiciness" to the recipe then you can definitely use chicken breast instead. But I suggest serving the salsa sauce after baking, otherwise it will make the tortillas too soggy when baking.
4. Don't flip the pork carnitas when browning it. That way you get crunchy as well as retaining the juiciness of the pork.