Is there anyone out there who doesn't like tacos? I have been hooked since I lived near the Mexican border in San Diego, California. I routinely went south of the border to eat lunch and dinner.  While I could get authentic Mexican food in the areas near where I lived, I always found the food in Mexico just a bit tastier.

I have also found that the tacos I now make at home, as good as they are, lack a little bit of that true Mexican flair and flavor. However, my friend Merritt Bates-Thomas, with the Green River District Health Department in Owensboro, KY, has fixed that problem! She has a recipe that is packed full of flavor and kick.  When she brought these in for the What's Cookin'? segment on my radio show, she admitted that this is her absolute favorite recipe she's ever shared with us. It took about a half a bite for me to agree.

Here's how to make Merritt's Crispy Chicken Tacos.


1 whole chicken, stewed, skinned boned, and shredded (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion diced
4 cloves garlic
1 - 15 1/2 ounce cans black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup salsa verde
1/2 cup light sour cream
3/4 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup cilantro for garnish and flavor
16 small corn tortillas
Stew chicken. Or, if you want to save time, just buy a rotisserie and shred it.
 While the chicken cooks, prepare the avocado crema first to allow flavors to blend.
Estudio Bloom/Unsplash
Estudio Bloom/Unsplash
Here's the recipe for that crema, which I can and do just eat with a spoon.  It's that good.


2 large avocados
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. garlic granules or powder
Juice from one fresh lime
Add avocado cut into chunks, sour cream, garlic, and lime juice to taste in a food processor until mixture is smooth and creamy.  Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate while you prepare quesadillas.
If you have cooked the chicken, let it chicken cool and then skin, bone, and shred it.  Set chicken aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute' onions and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add chicken, black beans, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salsa verde (Merritt used a mild salsa verde for this recipe, though you could certainly go for more heat if you choose) and stir mixture together.

Wrap the corn tortillas in (8 at a time) in a damp paper towel on a plate and microwave them for 30 seconds. Use a pastry brush to lightly spread olive oil on one side of the tortillas.   Place oiled side face down on a cookie sheet.  Place 3-4 tablespoons of chicken mixture on one half of each tortilla. and top with 2 tablespoons cheese.  Fold tortillas in half and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes - 5 minutes on each side - or until the tortilla browns and gets crispy.
Remove tacos from the baking sheet to a serving plate. Garnish with cilantro.  Serve with salsa verde and avocado crema.
This recipe makes 16 Crispy Chicken Tacos and they are going to knock your taste buds off.

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