Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Calexico what?"

My sister wanted a mexican style dinner for one of her birthday celebrations.
Prefect timing to try out a Calexico inspired meal. There needed to be certain elements that were signature to the taste I wanted to achieve:
Spiced meat of choice- Chicken in this case, my sister's favorite.
Pickled red onion
Pumpkin Arbol Salsa
Salty cheese

Chicken for Calexico style tacos (Makes about 15 authentic sized tacos)

You will need:
For the marinade
Juice of 2 limes
4 peeled and smashed garlic cloves
1 large handful of cilantro, chopped
1 minced jalapeno (keep seeds in if you like heat, remove if you don't)
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tequila
3 teaspoons adobo seasoning
2 teaspoons chili powder
A good amount of Kosher Salt and pepper
8 Boneless skinless chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients in a large ziptop bag, or divide between two bags if all of the chicken will not fit with room at the top of the bag.
Make sure all of the marinade is evenly distributed on the chicken and set in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours before cooking.

You will need:
For the chicken
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 jalapenos, sliced and seeded
2 large yellow onions, minced
6 cloves minced garlic
1 28-ounce can diced San Marzano tomatoes
3 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon chili powder
Chicken in marinade
4 cups good quality chicken stock or more to cover
Adobo seasoning optional
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro to finish

Take the chicken out of the fridge and allow to start coming up to room temperature.
In a large pan with high sides, saute the jalapenos, onion, and garlic until fragrant and the onions begin to brown on the sides. Add in the tomatoes and allow this to cook for 5 minutes, add in the paprika, cumin, oregano and chili powder. Let this cook for another 2 minutes so the spices can bloom. Take the chicken out of the marinade and place into the tomato mixture, add in a bit of the marinade, about a quarter.
Brown the chicken and then add in the chicken stock to cover.
Bring this to a simmer and allow to cook uncovered for about an hour or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the chicken is very tender.
Shred the chicken and return to the pan with the remaining liquid, and allow to reduce to your preferred consistency.
Add in the fresh cilantro and season to taste with either adobo or kosher salt and pepper.

Up Next, Pickled red onion!
We're almost at assembling...


  1. MMmm, I'm definitely making these tacos! ASAP. I have more than half of those ingredients here!

    Btw: your story-telling is lovely. You ought to write more often (and submit HINT-HINT). <3

  2. These appear to be very unique tacos indeed. Another job well done : )