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The French Taco

by Big Zuu from Big Zuu’s Big Eats

A Mexican-inspired, French fast food dish, these "tacos" are the culinary fusion you didn't know you needed. Big Zuu's take on the dish, as seen on the Dave series Big Zuu's Big Eats, combines chicken, peppers, homemade nacho cheese and an addictive Sauce Algérienne.

Introduction

The French took a Mexican dish, named it incorrectly and basically swapped the rice and beans in a burrito with chips and cheese. Bare meat combined with hella flavours in a massive tortilla, then pressed in a grill – it’s very mad. When I went to Paris and had this, it made me question the fast-food levels in the UK.

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Ingredients

6 chicken breast mini fillets, about 250g
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried oregano
2 merguez sausages
½ red pepper, thinly sliced
½ green pepper, thinly sliced
Sauce Algérienne (see below for ingredients)
2 large tortillas
100g grated mozzarella
Nacho Cheese Sauciness (see below for ingredients)
2 handfuls of cooked oven chips
2 spring onions, sliced
50g pickled jalapeños
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
For the Sauce Algérienne:
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp harissa paste
1 small onion, finely chopped
240g mayonnaise
A handful of coriander, finely chopped
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
For the Nacho Cheese Sauciness:
410ml tin evaporated milk
120g Red Leicester, grated
120g Cheddar, grated
1 tbsp cornflour
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tbsp hot sauce
2 tbsps mayonnaise

Essential kit

You will need: a griddle or a panini press.

Method

For the Sauce Algérienne:

Mix the lemon juice, cumin, paprika and chilli powder together in a bowl to form a paste. Add the tomato paste and harissa and stir to combine. Add the onion, mayonnaise, coriander and salt and pepper and whisk to combine.

For the Nacho Cheese Sauciness:

Pour the evaporated milk into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Mix the grated cheeses with the cornflour, then add to the pan along with chilli, chilli powder and hot sauce and whisk to combine. Simmer gently for 5 minutes until thickened, check the seasoning and, if using hot, serve immediately.

For the French Tacos:

Place the chicken fillets in a large bowl together with 1 tablespoon of the oil, the garlic powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, oregano and some salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Slice the merguez in half lengthways and fry for 3–4 minutes, turning after the cut sides are golden and crisp. Once cooked, set aside and add the chicken fillets and sliced peppers to the pan. Fry over a medium heat for 8–10 minutes until the chicken fillets are golden brown on all sides and firm, and the peppers are soft and lightly charred.

Spread a layer of Sauce Algérienne in the centre of one tortilla, then sprinkle over a quarter of the mozzarella. Top with half the merguez, followed by 3 chicken fillets and half the peppers. Add a spoonful of Nacho Cheese Sauciness, half the chips, half the spring onions and half the jalapeños. Top with another quarter of the mozzarella and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the edges of the tortilla over the filling to create a rectangle. Repeat to make the other wrap.

If you have a panini press, heat on medium. When it’s hot, add the wraps, folded-side down, and cook for 5–8 minutes until the outside is golden and crisp and the cheese is melted.

If you are using a griddle, heat it over a low heat. Place the wraps folded-side down on the griddle and weight them down with a heavy dish. Cook for 4–5 minutes on each side.

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