Chicken Tacos


Yield:
12 tacos
Level:
Easy

CATEGORIES
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe Achiote Citrus Marinade (recipe follows)
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken legs and thighs
  • 24 small corn tortillas (recipe follows), or use store-bought
  • 1 recipe Salsa Fresca (recipe follows)
  • 2 avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only, chopped
  • Achiote Citrus Marinade:
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup achiote paste
  • 2 to 3 jalapeno chiles stemmed and seeded if desired
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves
  • Corn Tortillas:
  • 4 cups finely ground deep yellow masa harina
  • 2 3/4 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Salsa Fresca:
  • 4 medium ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves only chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Directions

Rub the marinade all over the chicken pieces. Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or as long as overnight. Preheat the oven to 350/. Lift the chicken pieces from the marinade and transfer to a roasting pan. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until the meat easily pulls away from the bone. Set the chicken aside to cool and pour the cooking juices from the pan into a bowl or cup.

Refrigerate the juices so that the fat rises to the top. When the chicken is cool, remove and discard the skin, if desired, and bones and cut or shred the meat into bitesized pieces. Refrigerate the chicken if you do not plan to use it right away. When you are ready to make the tacos, skim off and discard the fat which has risen from the cooking juices, and use the brown cooking liquid which remains to reheat the chicken in a low oven.

Dip a corn tortilla in some water and shake off the excess. Toast one at a time in a nonstick pan over medium heat for about 1 minute on each side. Wrap in a towel to keep warm while you dip and heat the remaining tortillas.

For each taco, stack 2 tortillas. Divide the warm chicken and place on top. Top with Salsa Fresca, sliced avocado, and chopped cilantro.

Achiote Citrus Marinade:

Combine 1/3 cup of the orange juice, the achiote paste, jalapenos, garlic, peppercorns and salt in a blender or food processor. Puree until the peppercorns are completely crushed. Add the cilantro and the remaining 1/3 cup orange juice and puree until smooth.

Corn Tortillas:

In large bowl combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. The dough should be slightly sticky and form a ball when pressed together. To test, flatten a small piece of dough between your palms. If the edges crack, add water to the dough, a tablespoon at a time, until a test piece does not crack.

Divide the dough into 24 golf ball size pieces for tacos and 12 large balls for quesadillas. Place on a platter and cover with a damp towel. Line a tortilla press with 2 sheets of plastic cut from a plastic freezer bag or other heavy duty plastic bag.

Heat a dry cast iron skillet, or non-stick pan until moderately hot. Flatten each ball of dough in the tortilla press, then remove the plastic from the top and, holding the tortilla with your fingertips, peel off the bottom sheet. Lay the tortillas one by one on the skillet and cook about 30 to 45 seconds per side, pressing the top of each tortilla with your fingertips to make it puff. Place the hot tortillas on a towel.

When they are still warm but not hot, stack and wrap in a towel. Serve immediately or let cool, wrap well in plastic or a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator up to a week.

Yield: 24 small or 12 large tortillas

Salsa Fresca:

In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients. Stir and toss well. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator no more than 1 day.

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