As much as I’m relishing beach life right now, there are a few things I’m really starting to miss back in Austin. Of course our families and friends… the cooler fall temps all my ATX people are raving about right now… and tacos. While I do love a good California burrito, there’s really nothing that can replace a Jess Special (my fellow TacoDeli fans know the perfection that is migas and avocado wrapped in a warm corn tortilla) or a good Tacos al Pastor in my heart. When our wheels touch down in Austin next month, I can guarantee that our first stop will be Fresa’s to load up on mine and Adam’s favorite taco in the city:
The El Santo is made with their rotisserie Agave-Lime Chicken in a fresh corn tortilla with avocado, jicama, carrot, and jalapeño, combined with a cooling chipotle aioli and fresh mint. If ever there was a perfect combination, this is it.
In typical fashion, I had to create a copycat version to satisfy my El Santo cravings at home — and when I’m far from home. This recipe has been keeping me from getting too homesick for tacos, and I also love that it’s packed with crisp, fresh veggies so we can keep it in our regular rotation without it feeling like an indulgence.
Although my recipe is inspired by the flavors of the El Santo, I took some liberties to make it extra doable for quick weeknight dinners (which we’re all looking for more of, especially in this busy fall season.) When we grill these for dinner, I usually make double the amount of chicken I’ll need, so the next day for lunch I can just add my veggies, char the corn tortillas over the stove, and savor them all over again. Ditto on the veggies – chopping up jicama and carrot into little matchsticks isn’t exactly what I feel like doing at 6pm on a Tuesday, so I usually meal prep it in advance, throw some in containers in the fridge for kids to snack on, and save the rest for these tacos. They’re also ready to go when leftover taco cravings strike.
For the chipotle aioli, I love to combine a squeeze of this chipotle paste with mayo and a squeeze of lime juice, but if you can’t find it, use a scoop of the liquid in a can of chipotles in adobo… or even use a few big shakes of chipotle powder in a pinch. I love to use any leftovers on black bean tostadas, or as a dip with raw veggies, grilled shishitos, or artichokes.
On the day of our shoot, I only had cilantro on hand, so I used it. That said, whenever I make these with mint, I’m struck by the fact that the fresh mint literally makes these tacos, so do not skip it. Unless you hate mint – in which case, go for the cilantro.
Head over to my IGTV to watch me make these tacos start to finish, and I’d love to hear in the comments if you give them a try!
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- zest and juice of 2 limes
- big squeeze of agave syrup
- garlic salt
- 2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 large jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1/4 cup chopped mint
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 8 - 12 corn tortillas
for the chipotle aioli
- chipotle paste or liquid from a can of chipotles in adobo
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- juice of 1 lime
- Combine olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, and agave syrup in a gallon-sized ziploc, then add chicken and turn to coat. Marinate chicken in mixture for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. When ready to cook, remove from marinade and sprinkle on both sides with garlic salt.
- Preheat a grill (or grill pan) to medium high. Grill chicken thighs for about 5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Remove and let rest for a few minutes, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Make the chipotle aioli by combining the mayonnaise, lime juice, and a squeeze of chipotle paste (or a 1/2 teaspoon of liquid from can of chipotles.) Taste and add more chipotle if you like it spicier.
- Char the tortillas by placing them over the flame of a burner on your stove. Flip after a few seconds and char the other side. I like to keep them warm in a gallon-sized ziploc while I make all the tortillas.
- When ready to serve, fill each tortilla with a few pieces of chicken, 3 or 4 cubes of avocado, a few carrot and jicama strips, a sprinkle of mint, and a couple jalapeno slices. Drizzle chipotle aioli over the top, add a squeeze of lime juice, and eat!