Erin's Favourite Chicken Tacos
Hey Food Lifers! It’s been a minute since I’ve posted any recipes, and it’s all because I’ve been too busy socializing and travelling (tough life, I know). I’ve had visitors in Vancouver from out of town, I’ve met some new people, I did a weekend on Vancouver Island, and then a long weekend in Calgary. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but an entertaining one. I find that in order to keep my mental health intact, I need to balance periods of intense work focus with periods of intense social-life focus. And I’ve just come out of a few weeks of social butterfly mode.
Socializing and travelling lends itself to a lot of dining out, which is always enjoyable, but does anyone else get that feeling of “too much of a good thing” if they haven’t had a home cooked meal in a while?
For my first meal at home after a recent trip to Calgary (one that was prolonged by two days due to a blizzard and subsequent flight cancellation), I reached for one of my favourites – chicken tacos. And not just any chicken tacos. Chicken tacos in a life-changing sauce. It’s smoky, a bit spicy, and a little bit sweet. Plus, it pairs well with avocado (doesn’t everything)? This sauce is great on chicken, but could work well on tofu, beef, or pork. Plus, this recipe can be adapted for stove top and oven, or an Instant Pot.
Erin’s Favourite Chicken Tacos
2 tablespoons oil with a high smoke point, such as avocado or canola
4 to 6 chicken breasts, depending on how many you’re cooking for
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1 tablespoon Mexican hot sauce (I love Valencia)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon onion powder (not salt)
½ teaspoon garlic powder (not salt)
A few generous cracks of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Stuff to make tacos - taco shells, avocados, lettuce, tomatoes, limes, cilantro etc.
Preheat oven to 375F, unless you’re using your Instant Pot.
In a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven, or in your Instant Pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmery. Dry the chicken breasts well, and cook until well-browned on the outside, about four minutes per side. This won’t cook the chicken through, but gives it nice colour and flavour.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce by combining the remainder of the ingredients (tomato paste through to black pepper). I make mine right in a glass measuring cup.
Once the chicken has browned on each side, remove from heat, or turn off your Instant Pot. Cover the chicken completely and generously in the sauce, making sure the chicken is coated on all sides. If using your oven, cover the chicken with a lid or foil, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is at an internal temperature of 165F. If using your Instant Pot, cook the chicken under high pressure for 20 minutes.
When the chicken has cooked completely, chop into cubes, and serve as tacos. Or you could shred it and use it in burritos. Or just eat it. That sauce is oh-so-good.