- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
- Salt and pepper (we used kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, halved and sliced thin
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- ½ cup chicken broth (we used reduced-sodium chicken broth)
- 2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar (we used light brown sugar)
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
- 1 avocado, halved, pitted, and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled (½ cup)
- 6 scallions, minced
- Minced fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- For the chicken: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels before seasoning it with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large Dutch oven, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the oil’s hot, add half* of the chicken in so it can get browned, letting it cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place the browned chicken on a plate and repeat the cooking process with the other half of the chicken, adding the second batch of browned chicken to the plate as well.
- Turn the heat down to medium, pouring the last tablespoon of oil into the Dutch oven afterwards. Once the oil’s hot, toss the onion in, stirring it around frequently for 5 minutes or until the onion’s browned. Add the garlic, cumin and cinnamon into the Dutch oven, stirring constantly for 1 minute or until the mixture is fragrant. Add in the tomatoes and their juice, broth, chipotle and adobo sauce, and the sugar, stirring to combine and waiting for it to come to a boil afterwards. Once boiling, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom before moving onto the next step.
- Put the chicken back in the Dutch oven, turning the heat down to medium-low afterwards. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken registers 195 degrees, flipping the chicken after the first 5 minutes. Once the chicken’s fully cooked, take it out and place it on a cutting board.
- Transfer the remaining mixture from the Dutch oven into a blender and process it for 15 to 30 seconds or until smooth (we used the puree option on our blender to get the mixture smooth). Pour the smooth sauce back into the Dutch oven. Once the chicken’s cooled down enough for you to handle, shred it into bite-size pieces, returning it to the Dutch oven afterwards. Turn the heat up to medium and stir frequently for 10 minutes or until the sauce looks like it’s thickened and is clinging to the chicken**. Stir in the lime zest and juice at this point, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste afterwards.
- For the tacos: Spoon the chicken down the center of each tortilla, serving with the avocado, Cotija, scallions and cilantro as toppings and serving lime wedges on the side.
*We had to do more than just 2 batches in order for the chicken to get browned rather than steamed. We also added more oil into the Dutch oven for the other batches when the bottom seemed to be void of oil.
**Because of the blender, our sauce was already thicker and was coating the chicken so we only cooked the sauce and chicken until they were both heated through.
You’ll be coming back for seconds when you try this taco ! The sauce initially was nothing to write home about but once we added enough salt to it, we really tasted the smokiness from the chipotle and some of the other components in the sauce. It tasted so good that we started trying to think of ways to use that sauce in other dishes, we loved it that much ! All the components together work so harmoniously in this taco. You get that spice from the sauce, the creamy avocado, the funky (in a good way) flavor of the Cotija cheese, the freshness from the green onion and cilantro and a sharpness from the green onion all in this taco. We’d be happy to make this again and hopefully you will too !
We got this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated.
We weren’t paid in any form to promote Cook’s Illustrated.
Take care everybody !