Easy Chicken Tacos

In Mexico they serve everything as tacos; beef, pork, fish, chicken. I’ve even had tripe, octopus, and iguana. But my two sons mostly think of ground beef tacos; a stereotype that I definitely want to change. These kid-friendly chicken tacos are lightly seasoned, so be careful not to overwhelm them with toppings. The recipe itself is very unconventional: orange juice, Worcestershire sauce and yellow mustard.  Oddly, these non-Mexican ingredients combine to form complex flavors that resemble somethings that took hours of slow-cooking. But these can be ready in just 35-minutes.

Easy; but subtle flavors risk being overwhelmed by toppings.

Overall, I’d rate these as 3-1/2 stars. Interesting flavors, delicious, but the flavors are a little too subtle.

  1. My chicken breasts were huge. So I only used three breasts, but still they were 2-pounds. Overall, the tacos are very lightly seasoned, so I would recommend limiting your chicken to no more than 1-1/2 pounds.
  2. To warm the tortillas the recipe instructs to, “wrap them in aluminum foil and heat in an oven set to 350-degrees for 15 minutes.” However, this will ruin at least half your tortillas. The two outermost tortillas because hard and crusty like a tostada shell (except that baked flour tortillas aren’t tasty like fried corn tortillas). Also some of the inner tortillas fused together and ripped as I tried to separate them. Next time, I will try this technique, which seems like it will work better based upon lower temperature and added moisture. I modified my instructions below to use this new technique.
  3. I couldn’t find 6″-flour tortillas, so instead used about eight 10″ tortillas.

Rating: 3-1/2-stars.
Cost: $6.75.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium
Start time 6:00 PM. Dinnertime: 6:45 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe from Cook’s Country is here (e-mail is required, but no credit card). My descriptions of how I prepare them today are given below:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approx. 1-1/2 pounds)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 (6″) flour tortillas

Possible toppings:  shredded lettuce, grated cheese, diced avocado, tomato, salsa, lime wedges, and sour cream.

  1. To warm the tortillas, wrap tortillas in a clean, slightly-damp dishtowel. Place in a casserole dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in 250-degree oven for 20 minutes.
  2. Mince the chipotle chiles. Peel the garlic cloves. Chop enough cilantro to yield 3/4-cups (which will be added in two steps; first 1/2-cup then later 1/2-cup).
  3. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Press garlic directly into skillet and add chipotle; cook for 30 seconds.  Stir in 1/2-cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce, and 1/2-cup chopped cilantro.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat. Add chicken breasts, cover and simmer for about 8-minutes per side. When done, the chicken should registers 165-degrees. Put in a medium bowl and tent with aluminum foil.
  5. While the chicken cooks, prepare any toppings: e.g. shredded lettuce, grated cheese, diced avocado, diced tomato.
  6. Increase heat to medium-high and reduced to 1/4 cup; about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and whisk in yellow mustard.
  7. Use 2 forks to shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Return the shredded chicken and any accumulated juices to skillet.
  8. Add remaining 1/4-cup cilantro. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss until everything is combined and serve in the same medium bowl you used to shred the chicken.
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