Shredded Chicken with Guajillo Sauce
INGREDIENTS (SHREDDED CHICKEN):
4 lbs of chicken (breast or thigh) on the bone
2 whole allspice
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leave
salt to taste
INGREDIENTS (SALSA DE GUAJILLO):
3-4 ounces of dried guajillo chiles (about 16-20) Other chiles like New Mexico or Pasilla work but will change the flavor. You can also mix it up a bit.
8 cloves garlic
3-4 plum tomatoes (or other tomatoes will do)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil works)
healthy pinch of cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and sugar to taste
¼ cup orange juice
1 large or a couple small onions
DIRECTIONS (SHREDDED CHICKEN):
Take skin and any fat you can off the bone and place chicken in a sauce pan and cover with water. Add onion cut in quarters, peeled whole garlic cloves, and spices and cook at a simmer for 2 hours (give or take). Cool chicken and shred with your fingers. Save the broth.
DIRECTIONS (SALSA DE GUAJILLO):
Put a kettle of water on. While it heats up, pull stems off chiles and slice lengthwise with a sharp knife and take out seeds and veins if you don’t want it to be too spicy. Open up the chiles and lay them on a hot griddle pressing down on both sides, but not for long. Just till you get that hot chile smell, the inside changes color a bit, and the skin on the outside looks a bit extra glossy. Put chiles in a bowl and pour hot water on top and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes until they become tender. Put garlic cloves and tomatoes on hot griddle (if you are making the tomatillo avocado salsa also roast all your veggies at once). Keep them turning and roasting for a while till they get tender (10 minutes or so). The tomatoes may take a bit longer. Don’t worry if they get black in parts but don’t let them burn too much. Slice onions very thinly. Add oil to large pan (cast iron works well) and cook the onions until they are tender and somewhat carmelized (you can add a pinch of salt here). Meanwhile blend the tender guajillos with the tomatoes and garlic, cumin, oregano and about 1 ½ to 2 cups of the broth from the chicken until smooth. Add this to the oil and onions and cook till it turns a deeper color, about 8 minutes or so. Add more broth and cook down a bit and add the shredded chicken and mix to incorporate sauce and chicken together. Let the whole mix cook slowly for at least 45 minutes. This is yummier the second day so you can cool it down and reheat when you’re ready for your taco fest.
This salsa de guajillo is great with any protein or veggies. Try it with pork, shrimp, or fish. Or tofu or spaghetti squash for a vegetarian option.
5 cups of mixed cabbages (regular, red, napa) shredded by hand or in a food processor, depending on your preference
½ to 1 large red onion thinly sliced and/or chopped or food processed
1 large carrot shredded (about 1 cup)
1 ½ to 2 cups loosely packed cilantro
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
Juice of ½ lime
Teaspoon or so of apple cider vinegar
1 chipotle en adobo plus some extra adobo sauce from the can
½ teaspoon salt (you may want to add more)
Generous ½ teaspoon honey
Mix the cabbages, onion, and carrot in a large bowl. In a food processor or blender, blend mayo, sour cream, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chipotle, salt, cumin, honey, and 1 cup loosely packed cilantro. Mix dressing well into shredded veggies. Let it sit at least one hour and add additional chopped cilantro (1/2 cup to 1 cup) to your taste. You may want to add additional salt, honey, lime, or adobo till it’s just where you want it. This is a very forgiving recipe. Be creative and add different things. You can shred some radish or jicama. You can also make a vinaigrette-type dressing if you would rather not use mayo or sour cream. The point is that a crunchy slaw with your protein and some creamy salsa with a squeeze of lime in a fresh corn tortilla is an awesome mix of textures and flavors and a complete meal in one bite! ¡Buen provecho!
Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
2 lbs tomatillos
8 garlic cloves
1 cup cilantro
½-1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2-4 serrano chiles
juice of one lime
cumin and/or dribbles of adobo sauce from can of chipotles en adobo (optional)
Take the husk off and rinse the tomatillos. Roast the tomatillos, onion (you can cut it in quarters), and unpeeled garlic cloves on stovetop griddle. If you are making the guajillo chicken recipe, you can do this at the same time as you are roasting your tomatoes and garlic for that recipe. Take your time and turn everything till it seems nice and roasty. I use a medium to medium-high heat. It’s ok if it gets a bit charred but don’t let it get really burned. Slice the chiles lengthwise and then again so you can easily cut out the veins and seeds and dice finely. Make sure not to touch your eyes for a while after this (or wear gloves). Rinse the cilantro and pick out the leaves and measure out a healthy cup. Slice the avocado (I use the method I learned from watching the opening scene of the movie Tortilla Soup but it can result in an emergency room visit. Just ask my niece.
There is a safer method demonstrated by Chef Tina of Splendor in the Raw that you can watch here. Peel the garlic (it should be nice and tender). Put everything in batches in a blender or food processor. You may want to make one batch smooth and one batch a bit more chunky so you have a varied consistency. Add some cumin or dribbles of adobo or some powdered chipotle or any other spices you like that might improve the flavor. It gets better after sitting a bit.