Ancho Chile Chicken Tacos
We try to eat dinner at home 4 to 5 nights a week and if we're running late, tacos are my go-to. Rarely does it take longer than 30 minutes to put together. I serve it with a side of black beans and we can have a satisfying, tasty meal at home. This recipe does require a little bit of pre-planning since it involves a marinade but it's worth the extra effort, if you can plan for it. I can't remember where I first saw or read about this ancho chile and orange juice marinade but I've now tried it on chicken and pork, with amazing results both times. Chicken breast can famously become very dry quickly so aside from adding a great smoky and sweet balance, this marinade also keeps your chicken moist. If you can't get your hands on ancho chile powder, regular chili powder gets close enough. Ancho chiles are ripe, dried poblano peppers. You can also buy these dried peppers whole, rehydrate them, and blend them with some water to make a paste.
I happened to see some amazing sweet corn at my grocery store and thought they would do well in these tacos. You can take a lot of liberties with tacos and add whatever salsa, pickles, cheese, or greens you get your hands on. I've made these before with fresh pea shoots, instead of the spring mix I used here, and it tasted even better.
Makes 4 tacos
- 1 split chicken breast, skinless or 2-3 chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp ancho chile powder or chili powder
- 1/4 tsp Mexican dried oregano (you can sub with fresh oregano)
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- greens or spring mix of your choice
- 1/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 ear of corn
- salt and pepper to taste
- juice of 1/4 lime
- 1/2 Fresno pepper or jalapeno, diced.
- few sprigs of cilantro, chopped finely
- 4 corn tortillas
For the Pickle
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup red wine or white vinegar
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- Marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours, overnight if possible. Add the chicken, orange juice, crushed garlic, oregano, and chili powder in a ziplock bag and marinate.
- Once ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 F and roast your chicken for 35 mins. I leave the marinade in the baking dish and baste the chicken once, about halfway through. Once cooked, let it rest for 10 mins and slice into strips and sprinkle with some salt.
- Make your pickled onions, if you're not using store-bought. Bring the water and vinegar to a boil. Add the sugar and salt and boil until they have dissolved. Place the sliced onions in a bowl and pour the hot liquid over the onions; set aside.
- Dress your greens in some balsamic vinegar and set aside.
- Make the corn salsa. Roast your corn over an open flame. Keep turning it until there are charred marks all over. If you do not have a gas burner, broil the corn in the oven - brush it lightly with some olive oil and broil about 3 mins on each side, turning to get all sides. Take a knife, shave off the kernels, and mix well with the Fresno pepper, lime juice, cilantro, and salt/pepper. Set aside.
- Heat up your tortillas - I toss them on an open flame for a few seconds at a time. You can also heat it up in a heated, dry pan, about 15-20 seconds per side.
- Assemble! Start with the tortilla, add some greens, layer in some chicken, add some of the corn salsa, and finish with the pickled onions. Eat!