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Chicken Barbacoa Tacos for Thanksgiving

Time to talk about Turkey and COVID -19 times.

Thanksgiving in 2020 will have to look very different that the traditional holiday. The responsible thing to do is to stay home and celebrate with people from your household, we all know there are different rules in every state in the USA, but it all comes down to staying home and be thankful we are all alive and healthy, right?

Being that said and first of all, PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL RESTAURANTS. The restaurant industry, as you know, is suffering the most this 2020 so if you can call and order your thanksgiving dinner from a local shop it’d be AMAZING.

I am not a fan of thanksgiving turkey; there’s something about the time-consuming aspect to it and (from my perspective) lack of flavor of it, there I said it. 2020 is different and it gives us a chance to explore new options, right? So why not tacos!

This dish is a different take on one of my own recipes, my Barbacoa which you guys seem to LOVE (thank you!). I decided to change it up just a little bit and cook a bird instead, so today I give you my Chicken Barbacoa tacos recipe.


  • 4 pieces of chile guajillo, whole.

  • 4 piece of ancho chile, whole.

  • 1 big head of garlic or 2 small ones, cut in half.

  • 3 shallots or 1 big yellow onion, chopped.

  • 1 lb. of shitake mushrooms, chopped.

  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt.

  • 1 tbsp. cumin seed, whole.

  • 1 tbsp. of dark chocolate. I’m using a 60% Ghirardelli square.

  • 1 tbsp. black pepper, ground.

  • 2 strings of fresh thyme.

  • 6 pieces of bone in skinless chicken thighs at ROOM TEMPERATURE.

  • 4 cups of chicken bone broth.

  • 3 tbsp of olive oil or avocado oil.


  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Prepare sauce. Place the 4 pieces of chile guajillo and the ancho in a small bowl and cover the pieces with 3 cups of boiling water, let them hydrate for at least 30 minutes or until water is warm to room temperature. Once you can handle the chiles, blend them including all of the liquid and reserve.

  3. Season the chicken. Season all sides of the chicken with all the salt and let it rest for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.

  4. Brown the chicken. Put a 5-quart Dutch oven or any other big oven-safe pan in high heat and add oil. Once oil is hot, brown all sides of the chicken for 3 minutes, remove steak from pan, reserve and lower temperature to medium-low.

  5. Vegetable prep. Add shallots into the heated Dutch oven and cook for 3 minutes until almost translucent, then add mushrooms, cover the pan and let them all cook for 8-10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

  6. Put the chicken back into the pan, making sure vegetables are well distributed around it. Add chicken bone broth, chile sauce, all spices, chocolate and garlic. Cover with lid and bake in a 350-degree oven for 1.5 hours or until liquid has reduced in about half and chicken is fully cooked.

  7. Shred the chicken and mix to incorporate with the sauce and vegetables and remember to squeeze all of the garlic cloves out of its bulb and put them back!

About the Taco assembling

The tortilla is one of the key pieces of a taco and being in the USA I know it’s VERY hard to find good ones. First, and want to tell you to stay away from the supermarket variety (mission for example). What I strongly recommend is for you to look for a local international market or Mexican shop, most cities have either one, and get your corn tortillas there. I know it’s a hassle, but you can get a few kilos and keep them in the freezer with no problem.

To serve, warm up some corn tortillas, add 2 tablespoons of the shredded barbacoa (meat and mushrooms), some parsley and lime juice. I promise you won’t need any other salsa BUT if you want to, add some tomato or tomatillo salsa on top.

Make all the tweaks you need to, but stick to these key aspects of the recipe:

  • Chile sauce.

  • Browning the chicken.

  • Chocolate ingredient.

I’m super thankful this year for my family and also very thankful for all of YOU, my readers. I really hope you and your families are healthy and happy this holiday season. BETTER TIMES ARE COMING FOR ALL OF US.

Happy thanksgiving!


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