Every year for my birthday Jedd gifts me with a new type of dried hot peppers. Pasillos, Chipotles, Arbol, etc. It’s a pretty great birthday gift because I get to play with new flavors – which of course is the gift that keeps giving.
However, my bag filled with bags of chilies in the pantry was becoming pretty bloated. I make a lot of Mexican food, but it’s pretty hard to blast through several years worth of peppers.
Until I concocted this recipe.
Now my poor hot pepper storage area is anemic. I keep making this dish over and over and over. It’s incredibly delicious, nearly hands off, spicy, and filling. I don’t even use burrito or fajita sized flour wraps, just two of the itty bitty street sized tortillas filled with meat and vegetables fill me up.
Of course, that could have something to do with the massive amount of shaved cabbage I top them with. It’s not only a gorgeous color contrast, it’s a little bit of a “gut bomb,” as my father likes to say.
I also like it topped with a titch of red onion. I tried it with pickled onions and while I thought it would be perfect in theory, in actually it took the spotlight away from the super rich and spicy sauce.
The only drawback that keeps me from declaring this an “easy weeknight meal,” is that you do need to have a few types of peppers on hand. But, they’re inexpensive and fairly easy to find so this might be a fun reason to go out and get some.
Because this really is the easiest weeknight meal ever. And it’s faster than takeout if you have cooked chicken on hand.
How fun is that?
Note: I came up with the idea for heating the peppers in the oven instead of cooking them on the stove from a cooking show. And wow. I completely misheard the cooking temperature and time. Do not cook these for “Five minutes at 350 degrees.” (Which is what I thought I heard.) When I opened the oven the peppers were smoking like crazy, and I had the sensation of being pepper sprayed. You want the oven to be set on low, and you want to get the peppers in and out. However, it does save time on washing dishes – so I wholeheartedly recommend the technique.
Chicken with Three Hot Pepper Sauce Tacos
2 dried pasilla peppers
2 dried guajillo peppers
2 dried chipotle peppers
2 cups chicken broth
½ roughly chopped red onion
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken
Shredded red cabbage
Diced red onion
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, and place the hot peppers on the tray. Bake for 3 minutes.
Let the peppers cool down for a couple of minutes, and then stem and seed the peppers.
Place the peppers in a medium saucepan with the chicken broth and onion. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the vinegar and tomato paste, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Using an immersion blender process until smooth.
Stir in the oregano, cumin, and chicken.
Cook until warmed through.
Serve on tortillas with cabbage, onion, and watercress.
(Photos by Launie Kettler)