Yucatan Chicken Puffy Tacos with Peanut-Red Chili BBQ Sauce and Red Cabbage Slaw

TOTAL TIME: 3 hr 25 min
Prep: 1 hr 50 min
Inactive Prep: 1 hr 20 min
Cook: 15 min
 
YIELD: 6 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

YUCATAN CHICKEN:
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Peanut-Red Chile BBQ Sauce, recipe follows
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • Salt and pepper
PUFFY TACOS:
  • Recipe courtesy Diana Barrios
  • 3 cups corn masa mix
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Shredded chicken, guacamole, beans and cheese or your favorite filling
RED CABBAGE SLAW:
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeeze orange juice
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
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Directions

Whisk together orange and lime juices, chili and garlic in a shallow baking dish, add the chicken thighs, turn to coat and marinate 1 to 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat grill to high or grill pan over high heat. Remove thighs from the marinade and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until just cooked through. Brush with some of the peanut sauce during the last few minutes of grilling.

Place tacos, chicken, peanut-red chili sauce, red cabbage slaw and relish in bowls and on serving platters and serve.
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 cups canned plum tomatoes and juices, pureed
1 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
3 tablespoons pasilla chili powder
2 tablespoons pureed chipotle chiles in adobo, pureed
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for an additional 30 to 40 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator stored in a tightly sealed container.

Peanut-Red Chile BBQ Sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Mesa BBQ Sauce
2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in medium saucepan over medium heat; add the ginger and cook until soft. Increase heat to high, add the BBQ sauce and chicken stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half.

Whisk in the soy sauce and peanut butter and cook for 5 to 7 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine the masa mix, salt and warm water in a large bowl and mix until a smooth dough forms. Pull off pieces of dough and roll them into balls about the size of a ping pong ball.

Cut a quart size resealable plastic bag open down both sides, to form a rectangle. Use the bag to line the tortilla press as you shape the tortillas so they do not stick: Lay 1 side of the plastic over the bottom of the press. Place a ball of dough in the center, and fold the other side of the plastic over the dough. Shut the top of the tortilla and press firmly down on the dough to shape the tortilla.

Meanwhile, pour 2 inches of vegetable oil into a large deep pot and heat to 350 degrees F.

Drop a tortilla into the hot oil and, using a metal spatula, repeatedly douse the tortilla with the hot oil until it begins to puff up. Flip it over and, using the spatula, make an indentation in the center of the tortilla to form a taco shape. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Fill each taco with 2 tablespoons of shredded chicken, guacamole, beans and cheese or your favorite filling.

Yield: 12 to 15 taco shells
Place cabbage and onion in a large bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, oil and honey and pour over the cabbage. Add the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with mint. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl just before serving.

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