Editor's note: This story was published in the Austin American-Statesman in April 2019.
Country star Martina McBride performed at Rodeo Austin earlier this year, and this weekend, she’s singing some of her biggest hits in the famed Grand Ole Opry, followed by a Kentucky Derby performance the following weekend, all on the heels of publishing her second cookbook, “Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life” (Oxmoor House, $30).
It’s a busy schedule for the Nashville-based artist, whose love of food led to the 2014 book, “Around the Table,” and this follow-up, which includes a recipe for a chipotle chicken taco salad that is perfect for a sunny spring weekend that might inspire you to fire up the grill.
This salad can be as simple or complicated as you want, and you can make it even if you don’t have a grill. She suggests using rotisserie chicken as a substitute, and you can char the corn in a hot skillet over high heat. The dressing makes about 3/4 cup, and you might not use it all on the salad. If you have leftovers, you could use it as a dip or sandwich spread later in the week.
Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad
If you want this main course salad to have a little more kick, just up the minced chipotle chiles to taste. Use a cooked rotisserie chicken or grill the chicken breasts on a grill pan on the stove if you don’t have, or want to fire up, an outdoor grill. Layering this salad is pretty, but feel free to just toss it together in a big bowl. In lieu of grilling the corn, you can remove the kernels from the cob and cook them over medium in a grill pan or skillet until charred and tender.
— Martina McBride
2 ears fresh corn, husks removed
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups chopped romaine lettuce (about 16 ounces)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced (about 1⁄3 cup)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
For the chipotle dressing:
2/3 cup light sour cream (plain yogurt may be substituted)
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
4 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat a grill to medium-high (about 450 degrees). Coat a cold cooking grate with cooking spray, and place on the grill. Place the corn on the cooking grate and grill, covered, 12 minutes, turning every 2 to 3 minutes or until done. Let stand 5 minutes.
Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Grill the chicken, covered, 5 minutes on each side or until done. Cut the kernels from the cobs. Discard the cobs. Chop the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Combine the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, red onion and black beans on a large serving platter. Top with the grilled corn and chicken.
To make the chipotle dressing, mix together the sour cream, chipotle peppers, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, cilantro and salt in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake vigorously to blend. Drizzle the salad with the desired amount of chipotle dressing. Serves 4 to 6.
— From “Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life” by Martina McBride (Oxmoor House, $30)