Authentic Chicken Tacos

Serves 4-6, probably with leftovers

2 tablespoons olive oil (add more if needed)

2 pounds chicken (any kind, but dark meat always has more flavor)

3 tablespoons ground ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1 yellow onion, sliced

1 shallot, sliced

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 dried ancho chile, coarsely chopped

2 dried new mexico chiles, coarsely chopped

3 cups chicken stock

1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 can black beans (optional)

2 tomatillos, peeled and chopped

8 sprigs cilantro


fixins (sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chopped cilantro, jalapeños, etc.)

Heat the oil in a sturdy dutch oven.  Combine the chile powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl and rub the spice blend over all of the chicken.  Working in batches, sear the chicken, skin-side down, then flip over and cook on the other side (approximately 2-3 minutes per side).  As the chicken finishes, remove it from the pot and add more until you’re done.

With all of your chicken out of the pot (but some good rendered chicken fat and spices in the pot), add the onions, shallot and garlic.  Cook until the onion is lightly browned, but make sure not to burn the garlic and shallot (you can add those after the onion if you prefer).

Now, add all of the rest of the ingredients (including the chicken) to the pot, except, of course, the tortillas and fixin’s.  Bring the the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  After about 45 minutes or so, the chicken should be ready to shred, but cooking it an hour won’t hurt.  To do this, remove all chicken from the pot and place in pyrex dish.  Using two forks, shred the meat just like you would see in pulled pork bbq.

Return the chicken to the pot and cook until the liquid reaches your desired consistency.  We recommend taking two days for this dish.  Do all of the steps above on the first day and simmer for another hour or so.  Then, refridgerate over night, letting all the flavors blend together even further, and simmer for another hour or so the next day.  Watch the liquid level and consistency, you want it to be runnier than thick bbq sauce but not watery.

When you’re ready to serve, heat the tortillas, lay out all the fixin’s and let everyone go to town on these delicious tacos!

One response to “Authentic Chicken Tacos

  1. Looks good! For an interesting variation, and to add an additional flavor level, you can prepare the dried peppers for the recipe in another way.

    1. Replace the dried ancho powder with a dried ancho pepper (or two, if you like food spicier).
    2. Heat a frying pan or griddle. Do not use a nonstick pan.
    3. Place the dried ancho and New Mexico peppers on the hot pan, pressing occasionally with a spatula till you see a little smoke and a black spot or two.
    4. Turn peppers and heat second side till you see a little smoke and a black spot or two. The peppers should be a little softened and more pliable now.
    5. Let the peppers cool slightly, cut them open and remove the seeds and fibers. Be careful with your hands. Do NOT touch your eyes, etc.
    6. Put the peppers into a bowl.
    7. Heat water to boiling and soak the peppers until they become soft.
    8. Drain and discard water.
    9. At this step, you could either puree the softened peppers or you could probably add them as is to the chicken with the other ingredients to cook for 45 minutes.

    It’s a common way to use dried peppers in Mexican cuisine.

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