Chipotle Chicken Tacos


In California, tacos are fundamental to our cuisine. That’s why I’m constantly in search of amazing taco recipes to make at home for friends and family. Let me tell you, these chipotle chicken tacos are the best I’ve ever made. Not only is this recipe from the New York Times delicious, it’s pretty darn healthy too. Just look at the nutrition analysis for two tacos below. Not bad, right?

I know several people who think that tacos are a guilty pleasure and that they’re inherently unhealthy. But in reality, they can be quite the opposite. Here you can see that my suggested serving size of two tacos has enough fat to keep you satiated while the saturated fat is kept in check, and the sodium is acceptable unless you’re on a low-salt diet. I even included 1/4 tsp of added salt in my analysis.

What is really great about these tacos, though, is that while they have a good amount of vitamin C and calcium, the fiber is outstanding. Hint: in addition to the vegetables, each tortilla has 2g of fiber. If you double up on your tortillas like I did, you’re well on your way to meeting your fiber needs for the day. Are you convinced that tacos can be a part of a healthy diet yet?

Some tips for tacos in general:

1). Keep your portion size in check. If you’re consuming 6-inch tortillas, I recommend about two tacos. If you’re a tall athlete, sure, you can have more. But if you’re shorter and trying to lose weight, you may want to fill the tacos with more vegetables than meat. For 3-inch tortillas (street taco style), you’re likely safe with three.

2). Vegetarian, seafood, and chicken tacos are all great choices unless any components are fried. Pork and beef can be acceptable, but keep in mind that the less red meat you eat throughout the week, the lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer.

3). Load up on vegetables for fiber because they are low in calories and contribute to fullness. Salsa can be a low-calorie addition, but it can also be salty, so if you have hypertension, you may want to avoid it altogether.

4). If adding beans: choose pinto or black beans instead of refried as refried beans at restaurants can pack in a lot of calories. If you’re cooking at home, there are several varieties of canned refried beans that are low in fat and also a good choice. However, keep in mind that if you’re salt sensitive, many canned beans contain a fair amount of sodium, so look at your labels!

5). Enjoy! Eating tacos is what’s best about tacos, right?


Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Click HERE for original NYT Recipe
Serves 4

4 large bone-in chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 pounds
3 scallions, left whole
1 bay leaf
1 thyme branch
3 black peppercorns
1 allspice berry (or a pinch of ground allspice)
2 cloves
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 or 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
3 tablespoons adobo sauce, from the can
½ cup broth (use broth from simmered chicken)
16 fresh corn tortillas

To Garnish
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 thinly sliced serrano chiles
4 thinly sliced radishes
1/2 sliced avocado
Crumbled queso fresco or mild feta cheese
Crème fraîche or Mexican crema
Cilantro sprigs
Dried oregano
Lime wedges

Put chicken thighs in a saucepan and cover with 3 cups water. Add scallions, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, allspice, cloves and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove chicken and cool. Shred chicken with your fingers, discarding chicken skin and bone. Strain broth and reserve. You should have about 2 cups shredded chicken.

Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced yellow onion, season with salt and cook until softened and a bit browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook for 1 minute more. Add chopped chipotle chile and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Add shredded chicken, salt lightly and stir to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened somewhat. Keep warm.

Heat the tortillas over steam or by your favorite method, keeping them soft and pliable.

Build the tacos quickly: Put a spoonful of the saucy chicken in the center of each tortilla. Top with a teaspoon of chopped white onion, a few slivers of serrano chile, some radish and avocado slices, a teaspoon of queso fresco and a teaspoon of crème fraîche. Add a few cilantro springs and a small pinch of oregano. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.