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Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Submitted by on May 1, 2009 – 7:30 AMOne Comment
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chipotle-chicken-tacosMerry May and Cinco de Mayo! We aren’t running to Costco to stock up on mini tacos and frozen burritos, we are celebrating authentically, and yours truly threw a mid-April fiesta to try out many recipes. We had burritos, tortilla soup, various tacos, chicken and of course guacamole. In the end of the day, simpler was better. Starting with the crowd-pleasing chipotle chicken tacos, here are the recipes that made the cut.

The chipotle chicken tacos are delicious and easy to make. You can the spice factor for your more mild guests and regular ingredients ensure that anything you might not use is not wasted.

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients and the Cilantro Slaw.

-1 1/2 cups light sour cream – use light sour cream as it will be mixed with chiles —
-1-3 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles* (about 2-5 chiles)
-2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
-1 tablespoon smoked hot Spanish paprika (or whatever paprika you have lying around)
-2 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
-1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
-1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
-1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
-2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise
-1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick strips
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast halves, each halved horizontally
-12 5- to 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas, warmed

1)      Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Whisk sour cream and chipotle chiles in small bowl; season with salt. Whisk brown sugar and next 5 ingredients in another small bowl to blend for spice rub.

2)      Place zucchini and bell pepper on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Spring spice rub over both sides of vegetables and chicken.

3)      Place chicken and vegetables on barbecue. Grill until vegetables are tender and browned in spots and chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer to work surface; cut chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips. Cut vegetables crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces. Place chicken and vegetables in large bowl; toss to blend.

4)      Alternatively, you can sauté chicken over medium heat with a couple teaspoons of olive oil for five minutes before adding the vegetables. Be sure to watch closely so as not to overcook the vegetables or undercook the chicken.

5)      To warm tortillas, brush each side lightly in water, stack and wrap in aluminum foil. Heat on grill or in oven at 350° for 5-7 minutes.

6)      Place chicken and vegetables, chipotle cream, tortillas, Cilantro Slaw, and lime wedges on table. Allow guests to assemble their own soft tacos.

***Chipotle chiles canned in a spicy tomato sauce, which is sometimes called adobo, are available in most supermarket and specialty food stores.

What to drink? A Michelada micheladapicwould taste delicious with the chipotle chicken tacos. If you are really in the mood to search, there are some Mexican craft brews that would be ideal accompaniment to the tacos and would certainly impress your beer loving friends. A few that come highly recommended, although hard to find are from a craft brewery outside of Monterrey called Casta. Casta Dorado is a delicious golden ale with a firm, malty flavor and somewhat toasty aftertaste.  Casta Morena is a full-bodied complex copper ale with fruity hints, and apparently the favorite of British beer writer Michael Jackson.

If these prove impossible to find, I would go with any Mexican beer that is a little more complex than the regular lagers. These will bring out more of the taco flavors than a light lager. Negro Modela or Dos Equis Oscura should be easier to find.