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Braised Chicken Tacos

Moist, tender chicken, shredded with a red chili sauce makes the best chicken tacos.
Course Entree
Cuisine Mexican
Level Intermediate
Main Ingredient Poultry
Diet Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Low-Fat
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 small onions (thinly sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 dried ancho chilies (stems and seeds removed)
  • 3 dried guajillo chiles (stems and seeds removed)
  • 14 ounces whole stewed tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt (to taste)
  • corn tortillas

Instructions

  1. Generously salt and pepper the chicken on both sides. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil to a large heavy bottomed pot and heat until the oil is very hot. Brown the chicken in batches, leaving room between the pieces of chicken so they turn a golden brown on one side before flipping. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and repeat.
  2. Turn down the heat to medium low, add the onions and garlic to the pot, and cover with a lid for 10 minutes. When you remove the lid, the onions should be wilted and cooking in their own juices. Use a wooden paddle to scrape up all the browned bits (a.k.a. chicken flavor) from the pan, then turn up the heat to medium high to burn off the liquid. When most of the liquid has evaporated, turn the heat back down and stir and continue to caramelize the onions until they are brown and glossy (another 20-30 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, tear up the chiles into small flat pieces and place them in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast in a 350 degree oven until they are fragrant, but be careful not to burn them as they will become bitter. Transfer the roasted peppers to a bowl and cover them with very hot water. Once the peppers are soft, transfer them to a food processor or blender adding in about 1/2 cup of the water they were soaking in along with the can of tomatoes. Puree the peppers and tomatoes until they form a smooth sauce.
  4. When the onions are done caramelizing add the pepper puree, along with the chicken, cinnamon sticks, bay leaf and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting, partially cover with a lid and cook until the chicken falls apart when prodded with a fork (about 1 1/2 hours).
  5. When the chicken is done, remove the bay leaf an cinnamon sticks, then use 2 forks to shred the meat. Taste the sauce and add salt to taste. Serve with sliced avocados, fresh cilantro, lime wedges and tortillas.

Notes:

Homemade Tortilla