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Chicken “Carne Asada” Tacos with Pickled Onions & Smoky Black Beans

March 21, 2010

Chicken "Carne Asada" Tacos with Pickled Onions & Smoky Black Beans

It was 71 degrees out yesterday! We had a lovely day, hanging out with our friends Sara & Abby and their toddler Jasper in various parks in western Cambridge. We then ran around to do a little grocery shopping, first in Arlington Heights at Penzey’s (a Wisconsin tradition!), then at Mamadou’s Artisan Bakery in Winchester, and wrapping up in Woburn at Market Basket, all while taking in the lovely sun and warm breezes. Elysabeth and I both have some minor burns, but we are not sad about it as it was the first day of spring!

Given the great weather (as was predicted), I wanted to do something fresh and easy. I found a very tempting recipe in this month’s Cooking Light magazine that is so new its not even online yet! I was excited when I saw this because I have been looking for any excuse to pickle something, as I alluded to earlier in the year and the pickled onions fit the bill just perfectly. I modified the recipe just slightly by adding in some Poblano chiles that we had kicking around to the pickle mix, and used some pepper jack in lieu of Cotija cheese as we unfortunately couldn’t find any. Regardless, it was easy, came together pretty quickly, and was a very tasty way to enjoy a still-warm Saturday night!

Chicken “Carne Asada” Tacos with Pickled Onions (Serves 4)

Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 large orange)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1 tsp. white sugar
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly vertically sliced
  • 2 Poblano chiles, sliced thinly on bias
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 8 fresh corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • fresh cilantro
  • pepper jack cheese
  • lime wedges
  • cooking spray
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in medium bowl and stir until sugar dissolves. Place onions and chiles in small sauce pan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water and drain again. Add to juice mixture and combine thoroughly. Re-toss occasionally throughout rest of cooking.
  2. Heat large pan over medium-high heat. Coat chicken with oregano, ground cumin, salt and pepper. Add cooking spray to pan and cook chicken for about 4-5 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly, turning occasionally to ensure even browning. Remove chicken and set aside.
  3. Warm tortillas, one by one, in a dry pan over medium heat. Cook one side, then turn over and place three very thin pieces of the pepper jack, until cheese melts slightly.
  4. Assemble tacos by placing chicken in tortillas, coating with pickled onions, avocado, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Serve 2 per plate, with a side of Smoky Black Beans (below).

Smoky Black Beans (Serves 4)

Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. Adobo sauce (comes with Chipotle chiles)
  • kosher salt
  • fresh cilantro
  • extra pickled onions (from above)
  1. Add rinsed beans, broth, and Adobo to small sauce pan.
  2. Bring just to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for a few minutes
  3. Mash beans with potato masher, and season to taste with the salt.
  4. Serve with tacos, topping with some fresh cilantro or extra pickled onions (if desired).
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