Nothing beats a great Mexican dish, it is always packed with deep, rich flavours that marry together so delightfully. Back in South Africa the availability of truly authentic Mexican ingredients is quite scarce so recreating the punchy flavourful dishes at home never quite works out well. Whenever I’ve tried to do so in the past I’ve always ended with disappointing, lack lustre meals that never quite stood up to the restaurant quality flavours.
Since moving to UK the wide availability of these ingredients has inspired me to once again try my hand at cooking some authentic Mexican meals. First up I had to create the popular taco. Chicken was my protein of choice and I used a few different recipes as a reference point. This method slow braises the chicken to ensure it remains tender and soaks up all the delicious layers of flavour.
Let’s get cooking…
Place chicken thighs into a pan with a few tablespoons of oil and allow it to brown on both side. Remove from the pan then saute the onion until golden, add the garlic and fry until fragrant. Next add the tomato paste and fry in the oil until it cooks out and mellows. Finally add the remaining ingredients including the chicken to the pan and bring everything to a boil. Once it starts to boil lower the heat and simmer covered until the sauce thickens. This should take about 20 minutes.
Once the sauce is lovely and thick, remove from the heat and use 2 forks to shred the meat and toss with the sauce. Toast up your tacos, layer in your lettuce and chicken then add any other toppings of your choice. The sauce is a bit on the spicier side so you could temper the heat with some sour cream and guacamole. I add seared red bell peppers for a little extra veg and also pickled red onions for the best zing of flavour!
Chipotle chicken tacos
Punchy, flavourful chicken tacos
• 4 chicken thighs
• 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• 1 tblsp tomato paste
• 1 tsp chipotle paste
• 1 tsp honey
• 1 tblsp pomegranate molasses
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• ½ tsp ground coriander seed
• 1 ½ cups water
• Olive oil
- Fry chicken in oil until browned, then remove
- Saute onion until golden then add garlic
- Once fragrant add tomato paste and cook
- Add chipotle, honey, molaases, spices, salt to taste, stir then add water
- Return chicken to the pot and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer covered until sauce reduces, about 20 minutes
- Serve with toppings of choice