Lately I’ve been broiling everything, but especially chicken. We don’t eat a whole lot of meat at home, but I’d been craving chicken tacos, so I used some dried guajillo chilies I had lying around to make a really gorgeous marinade. Then I stuck them in a cast iron under the broiler for the most amazing crispy top. I used some of my garden radishes for topping and these were incredible! You barely need any toppings to make these tacos great, and this recipe is pretty simple.
I really wanted to make al pastor tacos, but I’ve never had a whole lot of luck cooking pork. Instead, I used a similar concept to make a chicken taco that will for sure be a crowd pleaser.
First, I went to the Mexican grocery to find dried guajillo chilies, but you can use just about any large dried chili you can find. Most dried chilies are mild, so this sauce has tons of flavor without being spicy. To use guajillos, I toasted them in a dry skillet, removed the stems and seeds, then hydrated them in a bowl with boiling water for a few minutes. Then add them to a blender with spices and vinegar, and you’ve got a marinade! These are incredibly flavorful chicken tacos, and I promise you’ll never want to look at a taco seasoning packet again.
I served these with just avocado and radishes. It didn’t need a whole lot more! The marinade made the chicken so flavorful you may not even want salsa or hot sauce. Check out the full recipe below!
- 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5 lbs)
- 2 dried guajillo chiles (or other dried chili)
- half a yellow onion chopped
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1½ tsp kosher salt (plus some for seasoning)
- 2 tbsp olive oil or neutral oil
- Tortillas, salsa, sliced radishes, shredded jack cheese, and cilantro for serving
- Season the chicken thighs with a couple generous pinches of salt before you start preparing the marinade.
- In a skillet over high heat, toast your dried chilies for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, remove the stems and seeds. Place the chilies in a bowl and cover them with boiling water (about 1 cup). Let them hydrate in the water for 5 minutes.
- Reserving the water, add the hydrated chilies, the onion, vinegar, garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt to a blender. Add ½ cup of the reserved chili water. Blend until the sauce is a puree.
- Place your oven rack 6 inches from the top of the oven and preheat your broiler on high. Place your chicken thighs in a cast iron skillet and pour over the chili sauce. Once the broiler is hot, broil the chicken on the top rack for about 15-20 minutes, until the tops are just beginning to blacken. Check on the chicken periodically starting at ten minutes since every broiler is different!
- Remove the cast iron from the oven. Chop the chicken into small piece about the size of your pinky nail. In a bowl, dress them with a quarter cup of the chili sauce from the pan and toss to coat.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add 2 tbsp oil. Add your chicken, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining chili sauce from the cast iron to the skillet, toss, and remove the skillet from heat while you heat your tortillas.
- Serve immediately on warmed tortillas with whatever toppings you choose.