Smoky Chicken Tacos with Mango Pico de Gallo

Smoky Chicken Tacos with Mango Pico de Gallo


I’ve been on a bit of a taco binge lately. I can’t help myself, they are colorful, bright, and beautiful—all things this never-ending winter is not. They’ve been helping me feel not so pathetically sorry for myself that I’ve chosen to live in the heart of the polar vortex and slightly more optimistic that one day it will get above 10 degrees and I will walk outside wearing not four, but one simple layer of clothing.

Smoky Chicken Tacos with Mango Pico de Gallo

 The other glorious thing about tacos is that as much as I try to feed my family one meal and one meal only at dinnertime, let’s be honest, I don’t. But with tacos I can still pretend I do because while the kids are eating plain chicken tacos with the bright orange shredded cheese they love, The Professor and I get to have sultry, smoky chipotle-laced chicken tacos topped with a sweet and spicy salsa. So technically everyone still gets tacos and actually eats them.

Smoky Chicken Tacos with Mango Pico de Gallo

 While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about this salsa shall we? Mangos are my saving grace in the winter. They are juicy, sweet, and fantastically fragrant and are a perfect substitute for tomatoes in my favorite pico de gallo, which is the brightest and cheeriest part of any taco and should not be missed.

Smoky Chicken Tacos with Mango Pico de Gallo

 This may seem like an involved recipe for any given weeknight, but the chicken can be cooked up to two days in advance, not to mention you are making a rich, complex chicken broth at the same time which can be frozen and saved for a later soup (this Mushroom and Barley Soup would be really good this time of year….just saying). So anyway, you do all this chicken cooking say, on a Sunday and maybe even make the salsa too (because you can also make that two or three days in advance) then on Monday or Tuesday all you have to do is sauté the chicken with the chipotles and onion, warm up some tortillas and dinner is served……with probably some leftovers for tomorrow.


Smoky Chicken Tacos with Mango Pico de Gallo

Yield: 8-10

Ingredients

    For the Chicken:
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 dried Ancho chile
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • For the Pico de Gallo:
  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the Tacos:
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 chipotles en adobo, chopped
  • 1/2 cup reserved chicken stock
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 16-20 corn tortillas, warmed

Instructions

    For the Chicken:
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large stock pot and cover with water by 2 inches.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat so the liquid is barely simmering. Cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 1 hour.
  3. Remove chicken from the pot and set aside to cool.
  4. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into another large heat-proof container. Discard the solids and save the stock. Let stock cool then cover and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to three months. If you are freezing, don't forget to save 1/2 cup for the tacos.
  5. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove all the skin and bones and shred chicken into large strips.
  6. For the Pico de Gallo:
  7. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and taste. Add more lime juice or salt as needed.
  8. For the Tacos:
  9. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
  10. Add chipotles, the reserved chicken stock, and chicken. Cook until well combined and chicken is heated through, about 3 minutes more. Stir in lime juice and season with salt.
  11. Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas and the mango pico de gallo.
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