Blackened and juicy, these chicken thighs are some of the best you'll ever eat in a taco. Slice them thinly and stuff into small tortilla shells, topping with fresh mango salsa. You'll never want to go back to tacos from a box again! The secret to cooking these is to bring the chicken up to room temperature before cooking, then have a pan good and hot to sear the outside. Feel free to experiment with different kinds of chili powders rather than just the regular one you find at the store. Chipotle or ancho chili powder adds a smoky note along with a little more heat. The chicken is also really good cold, and if you need to prep ahead, it also can be made up to a day ahead and chilled.
Click for more Mexican recipe ideas.
2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
3 tbsp chili powder (try using chipotle for a smoky kick, or ancho)
3 tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
grape seed oil
Trim chicken thighs of fat. Place them in a large bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Sprinkle over the thighs and toss until well coated. Set aside, covered with plastic film, for about 2-3 hours.
Take the chicken thighs out of the fridge and allow to sit on the counter for 30 minutes to come up to room temperature.
In a large, heavy skillet, heat a thin layer of oil over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs, making sure to spread them out and not to crowd the pan. Cook without moving them, and cover for about 3 minutes. You can use a cast iron skillet for this but if you don’t have one, a good heavy skillet will do.
Flip them over after the 3 minutes, when the spices have created a delicious crust on the chicken. Continue to cook for about 7 minutes more until cooked through. Remove to a plate and continue cooking the rest of the chicken, in batches. Try not to scarf down bits of the warm, spiced chicken as you stand at the stove frying them up to perfection.
Slice the chicken thinly to serve in tortillas with fresh mango salsa, guacamole, and your choice of toppings.
Makes enough filling for 6-8 people
Adapted from Bon Apetit