Do you think it’s hard to make perfectly tender chicken? It’s not. It’s dirt easy. Any idiot could do it. All you need is a slow-cooker. The two (slightly trickier) steps to push the meal over the top are adding an awesome salsa and searing the chicken before sticking it in the slow-cooker. I skipped the latter. I did not skip the salsa.
Just be careful with substituting other hot peppers for the guajillos. Anything too hot, like red jalapenos, Bird’s eye peppers and even fresnos will be VERY hot. Habaneros will kill. Don’t even think about scotch bonnets. For those, you’d need to use much less and up the amount of sugar and other ingredients to dilute and temper the heat. Do not use this recipe. You are not a cooking god. I am not a cooking god, either. We’re in this together.
Tequila Chicken Tacos with Guajillo Salsa
Note: If you don’t have a slow-cooker, bake the chicken in a large casserole, covered, at 350ºF for 45 minutes.
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (however big the package is)
2 skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup tequila
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 red pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 bunch cilantro
1 tbsp oil
Combine all the ingredients except the cilantro and oil in a large bowl or bag. Dice the cilantro stems, reserving the leaves. Add the stems to the marinade. Refrigerate the chicken for at least an hour, or up to 8 hours or overnight.
Remove the chicken from the marinade (reserve marinade) and pat dry. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, add the chicken in batches. Brown on all sides, up to 1 minute per side. Transfer to a the slow-cooker as each batch browns. When all the chicken is in the slow-cooker, pour the marinade into the skillet and bring to a boil. Pour over the chicken in the slow-cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4. When cooked, use two forks to shred the chicken.
Meanwhile, make the salsa:
4 oz dried guajillo chili peppers, seeds and stems removed (or about 4 fresh Anaheims if you can find them. If you use fresh, skip the soaking and draining step and just stem and de-seed the peppers)
4 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1-2 limes
pinch of sugar
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Pour over the dried chilies in a heat-proof bowl. Weigh down with a plate so chilies are completely immersed in water for at least an hour. Drain the chilies, reserving the water.
Combine the chilies with the salt, lime juice and pinch of sugar in a blender. Add a tbsp of liquid and blend. Add more liquid a tbsp at a time as needed to blend. Don’t add too much, though, or your salsa will be watery and diluted.
To assemble tacos, scoop some chicken (don’t skip the pepper and onions!) onto a corn tortilla and top with salsa.