With Summer approaching I've been craving the festive flavor of tacos, and I'm not talking about the kind that comes in a kit like Mom used to make on #TacoTuesday. I've been thinking of something more flavorful and authentic with tons of fabulous flavor!
After experimenting with a few different recipes, I came up with this one for Chipotle Chicken Tinga Tacos. The term "tinga" refers to a Mexican dish with shredded beef or chicken in a smoky sauce. In this recipe, the smokiness is imparted by chipotle peppers in adobo although tomatoes are also sometimes used. Chipotles are smoked jalapeño peppers which are usually sold in a can immersed in a delicious sauce or "adobo" comprised of paprika, oregano, salt, vinegar to preserve and enhance the flavor.
During my taco bootcamp, I discovered a few things that, for me, are essential for the perfect taco: (1) limes - their citrusy deliciousness provides the perfect flavor and balance for the spicy chicken that lemons just can't; (2) sour cream - if you like it spicy (and boy, do we!) you'll need a little something to take the edge off while also providing amazing texture; (3) cilantro - this herb is the embodiment of Summer whether it's used in salsa, guacamole or to garnish tacos; (4) warmed corn tortillas - warm store bought tortillas over the gas flame on your stove and get a little char on the edges for maximum flavor.These Chipotle Chicken Tinga Tacos can be prepared in just under an hour and are worth every ounce and minute of effort - I promise! Feel free to experiment with whichever garnishes you find most delicious - we'd love to hear about it in the comment section below. As for what to drink with them? A cold glass of your favorite beer would be perfect or, if you're feeling the Mexican vibe, opt for our delicious Watermelon Jalapeño Margarita with Smoked Salt.Cheers,"Chipotle Chicken Tinga Tacos"Serves 62.5-3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs2 tablespoons olive oil1 medium yellow onion1 tablespoon butter1/2 of a 7-ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce3 teaspoons chopped garlic1/4 cup distilled white vinegar (NOT white wine vinegar)1/4 cup canola oil2 ripe avocados, diced1/2 head of Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced4-5 fresh limes, cut in to wedges1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantroFresh, warm corn tortillasKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange chicken thighs in a single layer on a baking sheet and season with Kosher salt and pepper. Cook chicken until almost done but still a little pink inside, approximately 20-25 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and, when cool enough to handle, shred the meat using 2 forks.2.) In the meantime, cut the onion in half and then slice it thinly into 1/4-inch thick half rounds. Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium sized pan over medium heat. Saute the sliced onion until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add a pinch of Kosher salt to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally, for approximately 20-25 minutes, until they become golden brown but not burned.3.) For the sauce, add the caramelized onions, chipotles with adobo sauce, garlic, vinegar, and a pinch of Kosher salt and pepper to a blender and process until smooth.4.) Heat the canola oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Before the skillet gets too hot, add the sauce to the pan and cook until it darkens to a rusty brown and thickens slightly, 3-4 minutes. Add the shredded chicken thighs to the pan, stir to coat with the sauce and cook until no longer pink at all, 5 minutes. Season to taste with Kosher salt and pepper.5.) Serve the shredded chipotle chicken with warmed tortillas and other accoutrements including cilantro, lime wedges, avocado, sour cream, and shredded cabbage.