These tender, spicy braised chicken tacos are made with simple ingredients, and come together quickly and easily in a cast iron skillet. Searing the chicken and then finishing low and slow gives new dimension. Add tangy pickled onions, peppery radishes and cool guacamole to seal the show-stopping deal.
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 5 cups kale, stems removed and ripped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 3-4 sprigs fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 5 oz canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and 1 Tablespoon of the excess adobo sauce
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 lime
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
To make the pickled onions
- 1 yellow or other onion halved and sliced thin
- Enough red wine vinegar to cover the onions in the container you use
- A pinch of salt
- Chopped cilantro
- Thinly sliced radishes
- 10-inch cast iron skillet, dutch oven, or other oven-safe pan with lid
- Butcher’s twine
- Sprinkle salt and pepper as evenly as possible on both sides of your chicken breasts. Heat your skillet over medium heat and warm olive oil.
- Sear the chicken breasts for 4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate. If the pan is very dry, add a little more oil.
- Add onions to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are softened and the edges begin to brown.
- Add in the garlic and continue to cook another minute.
- Add in the kale and cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until it is bright green and softened.
- Turn the heat down to low and preheat the oven to 300º. Add the chicken back into the pan.
- Sprinkle cumin over the chicken as evenly as possible.
- Tie your oregano and thyme sprigs together tightly using a few inches of the butchers twine and drop it into the pan (yes, string and all!). If you’re using dried, just sprinkle it over the chicken.
- Place the peppers and adobo sauce in the pan, spreading them out so the flavor cooks into every nook and cranny.
- Pour the chicken stock into the pan, then squeeze the lime juice over it. Put the rind in as well to infuse more flavor.
- Close the lid. Place the pan in the oven and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken is easy to tear apart with a fork.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Shred the chicken and peppers apart with two large forks, mixing well as you go. The sauce should coat the chicken and keep it moist.
- Serve on warmed tortillas with radishes, pickled onions, cilantro and guacamole, or with your favorite toppings!
To make the pickled onions
- Place the onions into a small, shallow container.
- Sprinkle the salt over the onions, then pour in enough vinegar to cover them.
- Cover tightly to ensure the onions stay covered. I like to cover the liquid itself with plastic wrap, then seal with a lid.
- Place them in the refrigerator and let them sit over night, or for at least four hours.
• The canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce freeze well. Most cans are 9-11 oz, so just freeze the rest in a freezer bag for the next time you make these.
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