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Chicken tacos Al Pastor style with achiote marinade

By May 04, 2020 , , , ,

Al pastor is a central Mexican (Oaxacan) style of cooking either on a spit or grill. It is typically made using pork but in this recipe I went for chicken. The marinade for this dish consists of achiote paste and pureed pineapple which give it its unique flavour.

Achiote is mentioned in many al pastor recipes, it is a paste made from herbs and spices blended with oil and lemon juice or vinegar. It is also known as Recado Rojo, and is a combination of cumin, all spice, oregano, black pepper, salt, garlic, clove, cinnamon and annato. When using this paste, bear in mind the annato is what imparts colour to the paste and will stain your skin (and your clothes). It also provides a good spicy and sour foil to the sweetness of the pineapple juice in the marinade. 

Pineapple is also good for tenderising meat as it contains the enzyme bromelain which digests protein. You need to be careful on two points when using pineapple. First the marinating time, leave your meat too long and you'll end up with mush as the enzyme will break down the meat very quickly. The length of time will also depend on the thickness of the meat. Second the flavour, pineapple has a strong flavour, use too much and it will dominate. You need a good balance in this recipe, so keep that in mind. 

I also use lime in this recipe as a seasoning, rather than in the marinade. Lime contains citric acid which can toughen and cook the meat if you use it in the marinade.

Serves 2
4 chicken thighs, cut into halves
2 slices fresh pineapple 

100g achiote paste 
10ml sherry vinegar
20ml rapeseed oil
2g chipotle chilli powder
1g salt
50ml pureed pineapple to be added about 15 minutes before cooking

Mix the achiote paste, with the vinegar, oil, chilli powder and salt to form a loose paste
Coat the thigh meat in the paste and marinate for 6 hours in the fridge
About 15 minutes before cooking, remove the chicken from the fridge to come up to room temperature and pour over the pineapple juice, mix in well 

Set your barbecue up for direct cooking at 220c
I like to use a cast iron griddle for extra flavour, allow the griddle to heat up for at last 15 minutes so it's nice and hot for cooking
Place the onion and the pineapple slices on the griddle and cook for 2 minutes each side
Once cooked, remove to one side and keep warm
Cook the chicken pieces for 5-7 mins, constantly turning them to ensure an even char and cook

I like to serve these in corn tortillas with sprinkled with lime juice, chopped coriander and smoked feta.

If you want to purchase the achiote paste for this recipe you can order it online from the Cool Chile Co 

This is not a sponsored post, I just like the products from Cool Chile and have been buying from them for over 20 years now.

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