The majority of the recipes I have either flagged or marked with stains in cookbooks involve Queso, cilantro, and/or avocado. There is something about these ingredients and others that make a simple dish a big hit, and I find that I’m constantly craving the bold flavors that make Mexican food so special.
The most epic of go-tos, Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos, comes from the Nordstrom Flavors cookbook, and is so stained with attention (and splattered with marinade) from the many times that I’ve made this dish that it is almost unreadable. The homemade cilantro vinaigrette used to drench the tacos, and everything else on your plate and life, is now a staple for any Mexican salad recipe I make. The extra labor put into this dish is well worth it, and will leave you enough for a delicious lunch the following day!
On this particular evening, I realized I had gone five consecutive dinners eating either soup or a lackluster takeout and was guilted into cooking up something magnificent for me and my boyfriend. Let’s just say when he got home and realized I’d cooked up “the chicken tacos”, I redeemed myself immediately..and was off the hook for at least another week.
Make this and impress all of your loved ones! Just hide enough to the side for your seconds and thirds, or it will all disappear in seconds.
Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:
– 3 T. seasoned rice vinegar
– 2 T. fresh lime juice
– 1 T. honey
– 1 small clove garlic, minced
– 1 tsp. minced chipotle chile in Adobo Sauce (found in the Mexican/International food aisle in a small can)
– pinch of kosher salt
– 1/3 cup plus 1 T. canola oil
– 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
– 2 T. canola oil
– 1 lb ground chicken
– 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
– 2 T. fresh lime juice
– 1 T. soy sauce
– Queso Fresco (found in the specialty cheese section, I suggest Whole Foods)
– 1/3 finely chopped bell pepper
– 4 plum tomatoes, diced
– 1 1/2 tsp salt
Vinaigrette (make first)
1. In a food processor or blender, add the seasoned rice vinegar, lime juice, honey, garlic, salt, and chipotle pepper.
2. Turn on the machine.
3. While it’s running, pour the oil in a small, steady stream to make a thick sauce.
4. Add cilantro and blend until deep green.
4. Place in a serving bowl and set aside while you make the taco filling.
Chicken filling (make second)
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add the chicken, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper to the oil.
3. Cook until chicken is cooked through.
4. Add soy sauce and lime juice to chicken
5. Simmer until the liquid is almost completely reduced. Place in a serving bowl.
6. Serve with chopped yellow bell pepper, chopped romaine lettuce, chopped cherry tomatoes, Queso Fresco, flour or corn tortillas and the vinaigrette. I also serve with Spanish rice.