The ingredient that makes this marinade both spicy and sweet is adobo sauce from canned chiles in adobo, a useful sauce that I had not thought to use in marinades until I was introduced to the idea by the cookbook author and television host Pati Jinich. The sauce has enough heat, so I don’t use the canned chipotles, though you could add one if you wanted. I hold back a couple of tablespoons of the marinade and use it to finish the vegetables and deglaze the pan.
- Serves: 4 persons
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime (about 2 teaspoons)
- ¼cup fresh lime juice
- Salt and black pepper
- 2teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
- 2tablespoons adobo sauce from canned chipotles in adobo
- 1chipotle chile in adobo, seeded and minced (optional)
- ¼cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4large garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
- 1 ½pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1large red or yellow onion, halved and sliced
- 2red bell peppers (or 1 red and 1 orange or yellow), seeded and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 1green bell pepper, seeded and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 1jalapeño or 2 serrano chiles, minced
- ¼cup chopped cilantro
- 4large flour or 8 corn tortillas
- 1tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil (or use olive oil)
- 1romaine heart, sliced crosswise
- Salsa fresca, for serving (see recipe)
- Queso fresco, for sprinkling
Step 1In a small bowl, combine lime zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, the adobo sauce and optional minced chipotle, 1/4 cup olive oil and half the garlic. Mix well. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the marinade.
Step 2Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a resealable bag. Pour in the marinade and seal bag. Move chicken around to coat well, place bag in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 12 hours). Flip the bag over from time to time to redistribute marinade.
Step 3Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When oil is hot, add onions and cook, stirring, until they soften and begin to color, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in bell peppers and chile and cook, stirring, until peppers begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
Step 4Turn heat to medium, add remaining garlic and cumin and salt to taste, and cook, stirring often, until peppers are nicely seared, softened and beginning to caramelize, 5 to 8 minutes.
Step 5Pour in reserved 2 tablespoons marinade and scrape bottom of pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Add half the cilantro, and stir together. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from heat but keep warm.
Step 6Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in a low oven, or wrap in a towel and warm in a steamer or in the microwave.
Step 7Heat grapeseed or canola oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet. Remove chicken breasts from marinade, reserving marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Add to pan, rounded side down, and sear for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly charred. Flip breasts over, pour in marinade, cover pan and reduce heat to medium. Cook 12 to 15 minutes, flipping over from time to time, until a thermometer registers 160 to 165 degrees when inserted into thickest part. Transfer to a cutting board and cover with foil. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes, then cut across the grain into 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick strips.
Step 8Arrange lettuce on a platter, then place chicken next to lettuce. Tip juices from cutting board over chicken and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve vegetables on the same platter or separately. Serve with warm tortillas, salsa and crumbled queso fresco.