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  • Jill Clodfelter-Mason

Chicken Tacos with Salsa Verde and Guacamole



I was first introduced to salsa verde when I lived in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. I frequently enjoyed this green salsa on chilaquiles, tacos, enchiladas, and the list goes on! Well this past weekend, I was craving tacos and salsa verde. So I played in the kitchen. These tacos contain a crunchy, creamy cabbage and shredded chicken mixture, topped with a dollop of guacamole and some salsa verde. Pure deliciousness!

These tacos are as easy as they are tasty. Not feeling the idea of cooking chicken at home? Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. You can of course purchase the salsa verde - and the guacamole - at the grocery store for this meal. I just prefer my homemade versions because I think they taste better (You can click here for my guacamole recipe). You'd rather get hit by a bus than stand long enough to crank out 2 cups of shredded cabbage? You can purchase shredded cabbage or a bagged slaw mix to save time. BUT...I would take the time to mix the Greek yogurt and the seasonings with the cabbage. The crunchy texture and the tangy, cumin-y flavor of the cabbage pairs well with the shredded chicken. Adding the chicken to the cabbage mixture also stretches your dollar by making the chicken go farther.

So let's talk more about this salsa! Tomatillos, which are green, slightly sour-tasting fruit - and are not tomatoes - make a mean salsa verde! Here's a picture of these beauties after husking them. They feel sticky after removing the husk, but thoroughly rinsing them usually does the trick. Quick tip: Look for firm tomatillos with a husk that's still attached (When you peel back the husk you want the tomatillo to be a vibrant-green color).


While making this dish, I could have prepared raw salsa verde. But I like the sweet/sour effect that cooking the tomatillos provides. So I simmered these bad boys and a large jalapeño pepper for about 15 minutes in a saucepan.


While the tomatillos and the jalapeño pepper were simmering, I chopped some fresh garlic, onion, and cilantro. Then I pureed the tomatillos, jalapeño pepper, some of the cooking water, garlic, onion, and cilantro together in the food processor (You could use a high-powered blender too).


Isn't salsa verde pretty?! You'll have some leftover salsa after polishing off these tacos - which is perfect for dipping some tortilla chips in or for adding a punch of deliciousness to other meats, chilaquiles, soups, enchiladas, and more!


When it was time to assemble the tacos, I warmed the tortillas in a skillet (You can microwave them as well). Then I placed 1/4 of a cup of the creamy cabbage-chicken mixture onto a warmed corn tortilla - and topped it with a dollop of guacamole, salsa verde, some red onion, and some queso fresco for a salty hit. 1/4 of a cup of the creamy cabbage-chicken mixture was just right because I found that anything more than that was overwhelming - given the small size of the corn tortilla.


My hubby, Colin, and I enjoyed this creamy cabbage-chicken mixture - cold - in the tacos the next day when we had leftovers. But feel free to experiment! If serving these to company, I would keep an extra jalapeño pepper on hand, slice it, and place the slices in a small bowl to serve as a garnish for guests who want to spice things up!


These tacos pair beautifully with a fresh salad and fruit, but feel free to pick your favorite side dishes! If you make this dish, I'd love to know how it turns out! Happy cooking and eating!

Yield: 4-6 servings (Allow yourself to listen to your hunger/fullness cues)

Ingredients:

Salsa Verde:

1.4 pounds fresh tomatillos, husked and washed

1 large jalapeño pepper (Or 2 serrano peppers)

1 cup cooking water, reserved

1/2 cup white onion, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, minced (Around 3 cloves)

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (Adjust to taste)

Yield: Makes around 2 1/2 to 3 cups

Cabbage-Chicken Mixture:

3/4 cup Greek yogurt (Or sour cream)

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin powder

1 tablespoon garlic, minced (Around 3 cloves)

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice (Adjust to taste)

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (Adjust to taste)

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups green cabbage, shredded (Can substitute slaw mix)

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

Yield: 3 cups

Guacamole:

Click here for the recipe

Tacos:

12 corn tortillas, warmed (6-inches in size)

1/4 red onion, minced, for garnish (Optional)

1 raw jalapeño, thinly sliced, for garnish (Optional)

Queso fresco, crumbled, for garnish (Optional)

Directions:

1. Make the salsa verde (Can be made the day before serving). Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Carefully place the husked tomatillos and the jalapeño pepper into the saucepan. Next, simmer on low for 15 minutes. When the fifteen minutes are up, use a large slotted spoon to carefully remove the tomatillos and the jalapeño pepper from the saucepan - and transfer them to a food processor or a high-power blender. Next, transfer 1 cup of the cooking water into the food processor. Then add the onion, minced garlic, and cilantro to the food processor - pulsing until smooth. Adjust to taste.

2. Prepare the cabbage-chicken mixture. You'll need one small bowl and one large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, cumin powder, garlic, lime juice, salt, and black pepper. Adjust to taste. Next, pour the shredded cabbage into a large bowl. Then pour the yogurt mixture into the large bowl containing the cabbage - stirring until well combined. Next, add the shredded chicken to the large bowl containing the creamy cabbage. Stir until well combined, adjusting to taste.

3. Warm the tortillas. You can warm the tortillas either in a very hot skillet (About 10 seconds on each side) or in a microwave - wrapping the stacked tortillas in a wet paper towel and microwaving them for about 30-45 seconds. If needed, click here to watch a video by La Tortilleria on how to properly reheat corn tortillas in a skillet. Wrap the warmed tortillas in a dish towel or aluminum foil to keep them warm and pliable as you organize your ingredients for assembling the tacos.

4. Assemble the tacos. Place a warmed tortilla on a large clean plate. Next, scoop 1/4 of a cup of the cabbage-chicken mixture onto the middle of the tortilla. Then top the cabbage- chicken mixture with a dollop of guacamole and salsa verde. If desired, garnish with some

queso fresco, minced red onions, and for an extra spicy effect - some jalapeño slices. Repeat this process for the desired amount of tacos you're serving (If you have leftovers, the cabbage- chicken mixture and salsa verde can be stored separately in the refrigerator and served again the next day). Once the tacos are assembled, serve immediately. Enjoy!

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