Some of us make tacos every Tuesday. In fact, tacos are so popular in the United States that some people consider them a comfort food. When it’s taco night at your house, try my Chipotle Chicken Tacos. You will never make tacos with ground beef and taco seasoning packets again.
I love recipes that use simple pantry staples and are packed with flavor, and this recipe is packed with flavor! The ingredient that gives it its kick is canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. This is a “must have” in my pantry. I use chicken thighs for this recipe rather than chicken breasts because the meat is moister, and, therefore, soaks up the chipotle flavor.
I serve my Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Pico de Gallo Verde made with tomatillos and Pickled Red Onions. I make those two recipes first and refrigerate them until ready to serve. The pickled red onions can be made up to 2 weeks ahead. I make the guacamole last. You don’t have to serve your tacos with all the ingredients I list. Customize your tacos to meet the culinary preferences of your family.
For the Pico de Gallo Verde:
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, cored, and minced (about 2 cups) 1/3 cup red onion, diced 2 tablespoons jalapeño, seeded and minced 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice Salt to taste
In a medium bowl, place tomatillos, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice and mix to combine. Season to taste with salt.
Cooking tip: You can put the tomatillos, red onion, and jalapeño in a food processor and purée until smooth. We like a chunkier Pico de Gallo in my house. It is a time saver to make this in your food processor.
Shopping tip for tomatillos: Choose dry tomatillos that fit tightly in their husks. Check to be sure the husks are dry to the touch. Underneath the husk, a tomatillo should be green, which is an indication it is not totally ripe—its preferred state. Do not buy sticky or yellow tomatillos.
Storing tip for cilantro: To help prolong the life of cilantro, place it in a glass of water, stems down, cover with a plastic bag, secure the bag with a rubber band, and refrigerate. Change the water every 2 days.
For the Pickled Red Onions:
1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced ¾ cup apple cider vinegar ¼ cup water 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon honey
In a small saucepan, place vinegar, water, salt, and honey. Cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches a simmer.
Place thinly sliced onions in a mason jar or a glass bowl with a lid. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over onions, place lid on jar or bowl, and shake onions until they are evenly coated with the vinegar mixture.
Marinate onions at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. If onions are not submerged in the vinegar mixture, use a spoon to press down on them until they are submerged. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
Shopping tip: Do not buy onions that have dark patches, soft spots, or black mold. Examine the sprout end of red onions. It often times is sunken. This is the first place spoilage will begin. Do not buy red onions if they have soft, deeply sunken yellow tops.
For the chipotle chicken:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs Extra virgin olive oil for brushing Salt to taste Freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil ½ cup white onion, chopped 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced 2 teaspoons minced garlic Shredded chicken thighs 3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced 3 tablespoons adobo sauce ½ cup Kroger® fire-roasted diced tomatoes, 1 can (14.5 ounces) salsa style, or to taste Salt to taste Freshly ground black pepper to taste Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a rimmed baking sheet, place chicken thighs. Brush with olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the largest piece registers 165 degrees F. Let thighs cool. Shred the meat, discarding any skin, bones, or fat.
In a large skillet, place olive oil. When it shimmers, add onion, jalapeño, and garlic and sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken, chipotles, adobo sauce, and fire roasted tomatoes and cook until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the Guacamole:
This is an easy guacamole to prepare. I like serving it with chipotle chicken tacos for that reason.
3 avocados, peeled, pitted, and halved Juice of 1 lime 1 teaspoon minced garlic Sriracha® to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon.) Salt to taste
In a medium bowl, place avocados and mash. Add lime juice, garlic, Sriracha®, and salt and stir to combine.
Cooking tip: To keep your guacamole a bit longer, reserve the pit and place it in the guacamole and store in an air-tight container.
Tip on storing avocados: Avocados should be stored at room temperature until they are ready to eat. To speed the ripening process, place them in a paper bag with an apple. Once ripe, avocados will keep up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
To serve: Flour street tacos, warmed 6 ounces queso fresco, crumbled Pico de Gallo Verde Your favorite salsa Pickled red onions Pickled jalapeños Sour cream Guacamole
Place all ingredients in separate bowls on your table and let your guests make their tacos to suit their own tastes.
Cooking tip: If you don’t have a tortilla warmer, wrap street tacos in aluminum foil and warm in the oven on its lowest setting, about 170 degrees F.
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates