I don’t know about you, but I love tacos! It doesn’t matter what type of meat or cheese but as long as it’s wrapped up in a tortilla with some tomatoes, sour cream and cilantro I’m all over it. Plus these days Mexican food really is one of the cheaper routes to consider when planning a meal. With simple ingredients and a little TLC you can have this dish whipped up in about 45 minutes all for under $2 a person. Now I’ve showcased tacos on here before, and they each have that one special ingredient that sets them apart from the rest. These have this cilantro lime crema you drizzle over the top and these have a fresh tomato corn pico that brings sweetness to the chicken. But the tacos I’m about to share with you have this magic ingredient that I have always heard of but never knew how to incorporate in my cooking. Bobby Flay and Rick Bayless swear by them, and I can’t recall even one episode on Food Network where they aren’t used somehow by either one of them. But see I’m not a big fan of spicy, sure I like a little heat but nothing that’s going to make my forehead sweat and my tummy burn, so I’ve always steered clear. Boy was I wrong. What is this magic ingredient? Canned chipotle chili’s in adobo sauce. Now I’m sure if you throw 4 or 5 of these suckers into any dish it’s going to be hot so I stick to just 2 but the depth of flavor it adds to the tomatoes and the chicken is unlike anything I’ve ever had. Bobby and Rick had it right all along, this is the key to Mexican cooking. It’s that little something you taste when you go out to an authentic Mexican restaurant you can’t quite put your finger on. A little spicy, a little smokey and full of flavor. These little gems have now become a staple in my pantry. Even if you don’t like spicy, give them a whirl…you will be so glad you did!
If you have more time I recommend making this in a heavy enameled cast iron pot and letting it simmer on the stove all day. The aromas alone are worth it but the more the sauce can reduce and simmer the more concentrated flavor you are going to get in your sauce and chicken.
Chipotle Chicken Tacos
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon dried oregano *always crumbled dry ingredients in your hand before adding, it releases their oils and enhances the flavors
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1.5 to 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5oz) can fire roasted chopped tomatoes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 chipotle peppers, finely chopped (or more if you enjoy the forehead sweat and belly burn)
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
1 whole cinnamon stick (or 1/4 teaspoon if you only have ground)
Salt to taste
For the Tacos:
8 to 12 corn or flour tortillas (I went flour but recommend corn)
Fresh crumbled Queso Fresco or Cojito cheese
Fresh chopped cilantro
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, and the oil, finely chopped onions and oregano. Cook until the onions begin to turn brown on the edges and start to caramelize, about 10 – 15 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper and sauté until fragrant. Add the juice from the can of tomatoes, 2 chicken breasts and chicken stock. Add enough stock to just cover the chicken. Throw on the lid and reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside to cool.
Turn the heat back up to medium low and add the chopped tomatoes, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce and cinnamon stick. Simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened. When the chicken has cooled, use two forks to pull apart the meat and shred into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken back to the pot, season to taste and let simmer on low another 10 minutes until the chicken is heated through. Before serving, remember to remove the cinnamon stick!
To serve, warm your tortillas for 30 seconds in the microwave or toast in the oven wrapped in aluminum foil for 10 minutes at 325°. Spread a thin layer of sour cream on the bottom of each tortilla, top with the chicken, a good sprinkling of cheese and dash of cilantro. And if you have some limes on hand, a little squeeze of fresh lime juice. Roll up and eat immediately!
Leftover Tip: IF you have leftovers (which is highly doubtful) this is great the next night served over some brown rice, kind of like a burrito bowl or used for filling for homemade quesadillas.