Adapted from “Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales: Flavors from the Griddles, Pots, and Streetside Kitchens of Mexico” by Roberto Santibañez
A flavorful marinade made in a blender with dried ancho chiles, guajillo chiles, ginger, and black pepper is an easy way to add flavor to boneless, skinless chicken thighs or tenders. Once the marinade is ready, coat the chicken and let it sit for up to 24 hours. Then grill it, chop it into bite-sized pieces, and stuff it into tacos topped with guacamole or salsa for a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
- 4 dried ancho chiles (about 2 ounces), wiped clean, stemmed, and seeded
- 4 dried guajillo chiles (about 1 ounce), wiped clean, stemmed, and seeded
- 1/2 cup water, plus more for soaking the chiles
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled ginger (from about 1 [3-inch] piece)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chicken tenders, or a mixture of both
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Warm corn or flour tortillas
- Diced avocado (optional)
- Roasted Tomato Salsa (optional)
- Chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
- Lime wedges (optional)
- Finely chopped white onion (optional)
- Place the chiles in a large bowl, add enough water to cover, and let them soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and discard the soaking water. Wipe out the bowl and set it aside.
- Place the drained chiles in a blender. Add the measured water, ginger, measured salt, cumin, and pepper and blend until smooth, stopping and scraping down the pitcher with a rubber spatula as needed, about 1 minute. (The mixture will be thick—don’t add extra water.)
- Place the chicken in the reserved large bowl, add the chile purée, and, using your hands, rub it into the chicken until evenly coated. At this point you can cook the chicken right away, or cover and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium (about 350°F to 450°F). Brush the grates with the vegetable oil, place the chicken on the grill, and season with salt. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, flip, season with salt, and continue to grill until cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes more.
- Transfer to a cutting board and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Chop into bite-sized pieces and serve with the tortillas and your choice of garnishes.