Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Aunt Suzy says . . .

My blog partner and I are looking for uses for leftover chicken or turkey these days, something we seem to regularly have on hand from roasting or stewing a chicken. . . or maybe buying a rotisserie chicken.  I was looking for a chicken enchiladas recipe last week and was on The Homesick Texan blog when I ran across this taco recipe.  It attracted me because it doesn’t use cheese, a ubiquitous ingredient in enchiladas, and looked unbelievable easy to make, which it was.  It’s one of those recipes where you throw all the ingredients into a blender, heat the blended sauce up and then add chicken.  What could be simpler?  Oh, and did I mention these tacos are delicious and fun to eat?   We served with amped-up Spanish rice and orange-avocado salad.   Both the taco and Spanish rice recipes make a lot, so I’ve been enjoying for lunch.  I think you could also freeze both of these for future meals.

Making the chicken in chipotle sauce

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 small can diced tomatoes with juice

2 chipotle chiles en adobo (from a can), rinsed

1/4 medium yellow onion, cut in chunks

4 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

pinch of ground allspice

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoons canola oil

Salt and black pepper to taste

About 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (from stewed or roasted chicken)

Place all ingredients up to the canola oil into a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Place the canola oil into a medium saucepan on medium heat.  Once heated, add the blended sauce.  Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, until it is a little darker and thicker.  Add the chicken and stir to coat and blend and then keep on a medium burner until heated through, about 10 minutes.  Ready to assemble!

Assembling the tacos

Corn or flour tortillas (I recommend corn)

Lime wedges

Diced white onion

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Other favorite toppings – maybe avocado, tomatillo salsa, radishes, etc.

Place tortillas in foil and heat in the oven at 300 for 5 or so minutes until warm.  For thin tortillas, you will want to use 2 per serving.  Otherwise, for each taco, place chicken on a tortilla, top with your fave toppings and squeeze a little lime over all.

COOK’S NOTES:   I just noticed on The Homesick Texan that she says 4 servings.  4 servings!!  That would be for people who are going to eat 5 tacos per person :-).  I think this makes enough chicken for at least 20 tacos given how many we’ve eaten and how much chicken is left.

This recipe could be made kid-friendly with no or 1 chipotle pepper, then adults could pass the hot sauce.  If you omit the chipotle peppers, I recommend you add 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika. We like to use sprouted corn tortillas from Food for Life. They are thicker, healthier, GF and have an intense corn taste.  For the chicken, you can use an entire stewed or roasted chicken or chicken parts.  I roasted 2 fairly large breasts and 4 legs (all bone-in/skin-on) and they were the perfect amount.  To shred, I just pulled/broke the meat apart with my hands.  You can also do this with 2 forks.

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Aunt Suzy says . . . 

Fish Tacos continue to rule!  This recipe was posted recently in our local Sunday newspaper, and I decided to make it last night to welcome my brother John, who is visiting this weekend from Illinois.  (Of course, being me, I made many adaptations. :-)) We all concluded this was a winner and stacks up favorably to the other two fish taco recipes I posted this summer.  I served it with a corn, black bean and cherry tomato saute, adding a small can of beans, about a cup of cherry tomatoes and juice of half a lime to the corn and onion base we had leftover from a recent dinner.  Add an unoaked Chardonnay and YUM!

This recipe makes 8 tacos

The Slaw

2 cups shredded cabbage

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 minced small jalapeno pepper

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, 1/2-inch dice

1/2-1 teaspoon salt, to taste

Juice of half a large lime

Blend all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

The Chipotle Sour Cream

1 cup sour cream

5 tablespoons Frontera Chipotle Hot Salsa OR

1 tablespoon sauce from Chipotle peppers in adobo

Blend thoroughly and set aside.  (Note:  I think the salsa adds a great flavor and other brands of Chipotle salsa would work just as well as the Frontera.)

The Fish

1 pound Mahi-Mahi or other white fish fillets

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Canola oil

We grilled this over charcoal, but you could use a gas grill or broil in the oven.  If using a grill, bring charcoal or gas to medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, cut the fish into 3-inch segments, with an eye to consistent thickness. Coat both sides of each piece with the spice mixture, drizzling a little oil on right before grilling.  Place the fish on the grill directly over the heat.  Grill for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until the fish is translucent. Let the fish rest for 5-10 minutes before assembling the tacos.

Assembling the Tacos

8 or more corn tortillas

Lime wedges to pass

Place the tortillas in foil and heat in a 350° oven for 5-7 minutes.  Remove from oven.  For each taco:

Place a few chunks of fish on a tortilla.   Add sour cream and slaw to taste.  Squeeze a little lime over all.  Enjoy! Note: if you do not do dairy, this is just as delicious with the Chipotle Salsa right out of the jar.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

Not sure why, but fish tacos have become somewhat of an obsession this summer. After making “Take 1” last weekend, I was eager to revisit this recipe that I made a few years ago. Many of the ingredients are abundant right now at the farmers markets, so these were especially delicious. The pairing suggestion was a chardonnay of the crisp and fresh variety. I was a little skeptical about serving Chardonnay with tacos, but the Hess Select 2010 from Monterey was a perfect match.  It hit all the right notes with the food and was inexpensive – what could be better?!!

This makes 4 servings of 2 tacos each

The Cabbage Slaw

1 small head cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (Can be Napa, Savoy or regular – I used a combo of Savoy and purple cabbage.)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Stir to thoroughly blend and set aside.

The Lime Guacamole

2 ripe Haas avocados

1/3 cup diced red onion

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1-2 small jalapenos minced

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Mash the avocados in a medium bowl.  Add the onion, cilantro and jalapenos and stir to blend.  Add the lime juice and salt and pepper and stir until incorporated.  You can make this as creamy or as chunky as you want.  Set aside.

The Fish

1 pound Red Snapper or Rock Fish, aka Pacific Snapper (You could also use Tilapia, but I really liked the texture and flavor of the Snapper for this recipe.)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste

We grilled this over charcoal, but you could use a gas grill or broil in the oven.  If using a grill, bring charcoal or gas to medium-high heat.  Meanwhile, cut the fish into 3-inch segments, with an eye to consistent thickness. Coat both sides of each piece with oil and the salt and pepper.  (Randy and I thought we would try a little cayenne next time as well.)  Place the fish on a grill pan directly over the heat.  (The original recipe did not specify this, but we were worried that the fish would fall through the regular grill top.)  Grill for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness, until the fish is translucent. Let the fish rest for 5-10 minutes before assembling the tacos.

Assembling the Tacos

2 ripe tomatoes, sliced in thin wedges

8 or more corn tortillas

Lime wedges and hot sauce to pass

Place the tortillas in foil and heat in a 350° oven for 5-7 minutes.  Remove from oven.  For each taco:

Spread the tortilla with the guacamole.  Place a few chunks of fish on top.  Add a few slices of tomato.  Top with cabbage slaw.  Add a squeeze of lime and as much hot sauce as you want!