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Playing Grilled Chicken Tacos with Smoky Salsa Verde


  • 1 bulb garlic, top cut away to expose cloves
  • Olive or vegetable oil, for drizzling plus about 3 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges with root attached
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 4 limes
  • 2 teaspoons green chili or other mild chili powder, such as Ancho
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 1 rounded teaspoon (1/3 palmful) ground coriander
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or small, 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 round teaspoon light agave or Acacia honey
  • A small handful cilantro tops
  • 12 to 16 6-inch corn tortillas
  • Quick-pickled red onions (Thinly sliced red onions tossed with lime juice, salt and pepper)
  • Shredded Jack and/or Pepper Jack or Chihuahua cheeses
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Diced avocado, dressed in lemon juice
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • Cilantro leaves


Serves: 4-6, well


Prepare/preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high.
Drizzle garlic with a little olive or vegetable oil, season with salt and pepper and wrap tightly in foil. Grill until tender, 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally. Let cool then squeeze out cloves and paste.

Dress tomatillos, onion wedges and jalapeños with a little oil. Season with salt and pepper, and grill to blister and char all over; remove from heat.
Grill limes cut-side down to char and get their juices flowing.
Whisk up chili powder, 1 teaspoon each of cumin and coriander, half the grill-roasted garlic paste, the juice of 1 grilled lime and 3 tablespoons oil in a small bowl. Coat chicken in marinade and season with salt and pepper.
In a food processor, combine charred tomatillos, remaining half the grill-roasted garlic, grilled onion, 1 teaspoon cumin, cilantro, juice of remaining charred limes, honey or agave and the 2 roasted jalapeños (remove ribs and seeds for milder salsa). Process into a slightly chunky, saucy salsa and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Char tortillas to blister and blacken at edges and to soften. Wrap them in a clean towel to keep warm.
Grill chicken 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally. Slice chicken and serve with wedges of charred lime.
Assemble and arrange the fixin’s—the taco bar is officially open!