I find as the seasons change, my tastes change and so does my cuisine choices.  As the weather warms, I like simple proteins that are robust with vegetables and fruit.  When the weather is cool – I adore rich, stewed proteins with  a deep and robust flavor.

What I adore about this recipe is, its a recipe for all seasons.  It is amazing in the summer – when your can fill your taco with the bounty of your garden, yet sweet and simple – and a robust richness for the winter.  With a healthy douse of fresh lime juice – the moist chicken thigh meat delivers.

I like to think of these more like the chicken taco’s you can get in the food carts – street taco’s.

Braised Chicken Taco’s Recipe

Serves 8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 15 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Region Mexican
By author Marc Matsumoto

Ingredients

  • 2 Lbs chicken thighs (whole)
  • 3 Small onions (sliced thinly)
  • 4 Cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 ancho chiles (dried)
  • 3 guajillo chiles (dried)
  • 14oz tomatoes (chopped, canned with juice)
  • 2 Sticks cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • kosher salt to taste

Directions

Step 1
Generously salt & pepper the chicken thighs on both sides.
Step 2
In a heavy bottom pot heat 2 tablespoons of oil until it's very hot. Brown the chicken in batches, leaving room between the pieces of chicken to allow them to turn golden brown fully before flipping. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and repeat.
Step 3
Turn the heat down to a medium low and add the onions and garlic to the pot - cover with a lid and allow to cook for 10 minutes. The onions should be wilted and cooking in their own juices. Use a wooden spoon to scrape all the brown bits from the pan, and then turn the heat up to medium high to cook the liquid off. When most of the liquid has evaporated, turn the heat back down and stir until the onions are caramelized to the brown and glossy stage (about 20-30 minutes).
Step 4
Meanwhile, it's time to prepare the chiles. Tear them into little pieces to allow the seeds to be removed and remove the stems. Place on a backing sheet in a single layer. Roast these in a 350 degree oven until they are fragrant - be careful not to burn as the chiles will be bitter if you do.
Step 5
Transfer the roasted peppers to a bowl and then cover them with very hot water. Once the peppers are soft, transfer them to a food processor or blender - and about 1/2 of the soaking water in along with a can of tomatoes. Puree the mixture until it comes together in a smooth sauce.
Step 6
When the onions are completely carmelized add the pepper puree, long with the chicken, cinnamon sticks, bay leaf and lemon juice. Allow to come to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, partially cover with a lid and allow the chicken to cook until it falls apart - about 1 1/2 hours.
Step 7
When the chicken is done, remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Use 2 forks to shred the meat - taste and adjust the seasoning with salt to taste. Serve with avocados, cilantro, lime wedges and tortillas.

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