Taco Night!

Going to school in Montréal makes you miss good Mexican food as the Mexican food scene here leaves much to be desired. Every time I go back to the States, one of my first stops is at a Mexican restaurant, even if it’s just Chipotle. I often find myself craving Mexican food and decided it was time to develop my own go-to recipes to make any night of the week that would satisfy the cravings. The resulting recipe is for chipotle-chicken marinated tacos topped with pice de gallo, shredded cheese, lettuce, and guacamole. It is also always necessary to have a side dish, so I like to make a Mexican street corn-inspired salad.

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Taco stacked high with fillings

INGREDIENTS:

CHIPOTLE-MARINATED CHICKEN:
  • 2 kilograms/4 pounds chicken thighs
  • ½ diced red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from can of chipotle peppers in adobo)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder/4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons ancho/Mexican chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 cups water
GUACAMOLE (adapted from Chipotle Mexican Grill):
  • 2 avocados
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ⅓ cup diced red onion
  • ½ jalapeño (minced and seeds removed)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
PICO DE GALLO:
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes (diced and seeds removed)
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ jalapeño (minced and seeds removed)
  • ½ diced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
OTHER TACO TOPPINGS:
  • Corn tortillas
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Shredded cheese – half Mild Cheddar and half Monterey Jack
  • Hot sauce (optional)
MEXICAN STREET CORN SALAD:
  • 2 cups cooked corn (frozen or freshly cut of the cob)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I like to use Kewpie mayonnaise)
  • ½ cup Parmesan
  • ¼ jalapeño (minced and seeds removed)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro/parsley

INSTRUCTIONS:

CHIPOTLE-MARINATED CHICKEN:
  1. In a Ziplock bag, combine all ingredients and seal.
  2. Allow chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least one hour. I prefer to marinate the chicken overnight.
  3. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
  4. Once oil is hot, add chicken (in batches) to pan and cook approximately 4 minutes per side or until chicken thighs are fully cooked.
GUACAMOLE:
  1. Cut ripe avocados in half and remove the pit.
  2. Scoop out the avocado into bowl.
  3. Add lime juice and kosher salt to the bowl.
  4. Use potato masher or fork to mash the avocados to desired consistency. I like really smooth guacamole, so I mash the avocados for a couple minutes. If you prefer chunky guacamole, mash avocados for less time.
  5. Mix in chopped cilantro, diced red onion, and jalapeño.
  6. Make sure to taste the guacamole and adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. To store leftover guacamole, there are several options. If you keep the guacamole in the bowl, squeeze a little extra lime juice over the top and with a sheet of plastic wrap, press it into the top of the guacamole. Storing the guacamole this way will keep it green for an extra 24 hours. For more long term storage, there are two options: 1) if you have a vacuum sealer, vacuum seal the guacamole in a bag and this will keep it fresh in the fridge for several days; 2) if you do not have a vacuum sealer, put the guacamole in a Ziplock bag and close the bag almost all the way. Insert a straw into opening and suck out the air and quickly close the Ziplock completely.
PICO DE GALLO:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix. Any leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
OTHER TACO TOPPINGS:
  1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.
  2. Add a splash vegetable oil and allow it to heat up.
  3. Warm up corn tortillas, one at a time.
  4. Assemble tacos on warmed tortillas.
MEXICAN STREET CORN SALAD:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and gently mix. This salad should be served warm.
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Time to eat!

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