I was a travel nurse for a few awesome years and I was able to visit every one of the lower 48 states while I worked around the country. Sadly, I never ventured much outside the “standard American” cuisine during that time and I’m sure I missed out on many amazing local flavors. (Although I did have a freshly made beignet in New Orleans, which is like a square doughnut without a hole, and it was totally scrumptious1). Today I am a much more adventurous eater as you can see by these chili lime chicken tacos with roasted pineapple. Are they the most adventurous thing I’ve ever eaten? No, that would probably be whole chicken feet at an authentic dim sum lunch with my friend Dickinson. But these tacos are so delicious, even if you don’t think of yourself as an adventurous eater you must try them!
The chili lime sauce itself is super easy but you’ll find it does require some finger strength. You will need an orange, 2-3 limes, chili powder, cumin and olive oil. This sauce can be mixed up just as well in a bowl with a whisk but I whipped up the sauce while I had the food processor out for yesterday’s Mexican rice recipe since I was planning to let the chicken marinate2 overnight.
i knew I was going to be using leftover roasted chicken and not cooking the chicken in the sauce, so I wanted it to be extra citrus-y. I started with all the zest off one lime plus 1 teaspoon of orange zest.
While I made this yummy marinade, I discovered that squeezing limes is much harder than squeezing lemons. Lemons you can squeeze with just a few fingers but limes need the strength of both hands (or maybe I’m just a bit of a weakling haha). It took 3 limes to get 2 tablespoons of juice but I did it, woohoo! Don’t these squeezed limes kind of remind you of jellyfish?
The base for this sauce is equal parts lime juice and olive oil, so it would be very easy to adjust as needed. Add the oil to the lime juice.
Followed by the seasoning: 1 teaspoon of cumin and 2 teaspoons of chili powder.
Blend or whisk until well combined.
Marinate chicken at least 30 minutes but up to overnight if possible.
Since I’m using already cooked chicken, I just needed to reheat it in the skillet over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. (If using raw chicken, baking or grilling would probably be your best option).
While the chicken is cooking, it’s time to roast the pineapple. Chop pineapple chunks into tiny pieces and place on baking sheet in a single layer. The natural sugar in the pineapple will get sticky as it cooks so make sure you use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges of fruit pieces are browned.
You can certainly top these tacos with anything your little heart desires. In addition to the roasted pineapple I used shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, and diced green onion.
If you’re lucky enough to have a gas stove top, don’t skip this step! Char the tortillas by placing them directly on the burner over a medium-high heat and flip every 15 to 20 seconds until edges are blackened.
Scoop about 1 tablespoon of shredded chicken onto each tortilla and garnish with toppings of choice. Serving size is 2 tacos and they are fantastic with this Mexican rice.
Below you’ll find a printable version of the recipe with nutritional information included.
- zest of one lime
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 cups leftover shredded chicken
- 6 corn tortillas
- 4 tablespoons chopped pineapple, roasted
- 4 tablespoons shredded purple cabbage
- 4 tablespoons shredded carrots
- 2 diced green onions
- Combine lime juice, olive oil, orange zest, chili powder and cumin in food processor. Blend until combined. Pour ¾ of marinade over shredded chicken and marinate at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place chopped pineapple pieces on baking sheet in single layer. Roast 20 minutes or until edges of fruit are browning.
- Reheat chicken in skillet over medium-low heat for 15 minutes until heated through.
- Char tortillas over open flame, 15-20 seconds per side (optional). Scoop about 1 Tablespoon of chicken into each tortilla and garnish with roasted pineapple, green onions, shredded cabbage and carrots or any topping your heart desires!
- Serve immediately.
Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.
-Edgar Allen Poe, The Mesmeric Revelation
I had mine at the original Cafe Du Monde ↩
For all you fellow linguists out there, here’s a link to the difference between marinade and marinate ↩