coriander and smoked paprika chicken tacos with peppers and onions and poblano pesto

20 Mar

i have fond memories of taco night growing up, seasoning packet ground beef, ice berg lettuce, tomato, shredded cheddar. looking back, ugh that was an abomination of a taco. with just a little more effort you can have a really rockin and way better taco night–sans seasoning packet!

my tacos tonight consisted of smokey coriander shredded chicken, poblano pesto, sauteed peppers and onions, melted cheddar jack and avocado. you could easily do something like roasted tomatoes and corn or grilled radicchio instead of the peppers and onions, just don’t do iceberg lettuce. also, the sauteed peppers and poblano pesto taste great with cumin spiced black beans if you want to make it vegetarian.

What You Need for 4 tacos:

2-4 bone in skin on chicken thighs (depending on the size you may need 2 or 4)

2 T smoked paprika (try to get smoked, not just plain sweet paprika. the smokiness makes a big difference)

4 T ground coriander

2 T salt

1-2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp black pepper

1 bell pepper, julienned

1 jalapeno, julienned

1 onion, julienned

2 garlic cloves, slivered into thin slices

grated cheese, (cheddar, monterey jack, queso fresco, whatever you want)

4 corn or flour tortillas or taco shells

1 avocado, sliced thinly

poblano pesto–roast 2 poblanos under the broiler until black and blistered. put in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let steam for 5 minutes. run under water and peel skins off. in a food processor combine the poblanos with a large handful of cilantro, 2 garlic cloves, 1/4 c toasted walnuts, 1/8 c parmesan cheese and olive oil. blend until it’s the consistency of a chunky pesto.

to make the chicken:

preheat the oven to 350.

peel the skins almost completely off the chicken, but leave it attached, you are going to lay it back over the chicken while you bake it so it stays moist–we aren’t actually eating it though.

season each chicken thigh, top and bottom, with 1/2 T of salt, 1 T coriander, 1/2 smoked paprika, a pinch of black pepper and a small pinch of cayenne. (you can add a dash of cumin too, its yummy)

lay the fat back over the top of the chicken and bake for 20-30 minutes, until fully cooked. move the chicken to a cutting board to rest.

you can do all the rest of the cutting and cooking while the chicken cooks and rests. once you are ready for the chicken, remove the skins and shred the chicken using 2 forks.

for the peppers and onions:

heat 1 T of canola oil over medium heat. add  in the red bell pepper and jalapeno. saute about 5 minutes until just beginning to get tender.

add in the onions and saute on low heat about 10 minutes, until the onions are fully translucent and just beginning to turn light caramel colored

so, to build the tacos!

on the bottom of the tortilla, spread a bit of the poblano salsa/pesto. next pile on the chicken, the peppers and onions and the cheese. set under the broiler for 1 minute just until the cheese is melted.

top each taco with some avocado and a bit more of the poblano pesto



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