Soft Tacos of Grilled Chicken Breast with Tangy Green Chile and Grilled Onions

  • Active Time 35m
  • Total Time 35m

Makes 8 moderate servings

Anyone who's experienced the enticing allure of spicy grilled chicken from a street stall in Mexico will understand what this dish is all about. Lip-tingling seared chicken dressed out with Roasted Poblano-Tomato Salsa and lime is served wrapped in soft, steamy tortillas with grilled green onions. These are some of the most classic flavors from Mexico, and they're perfect for summer entertaining. Start your guests with some Tangy Green Guacamole and accompany your tacos with a big salad or bowls of pinto beans simmered with bacon and roasted tomato.


  • 2 to 4 fresh jalapeno chiles (optional), stems removed
  • 2 cups Roasted Poblano-Tomato Salsa (see recipe), plus more if you've got a salsa-hungry crowd
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 limes, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 8 large boneless chicken breast halves (about 3 1/2 pounds total)
  • 18 green onions, roots and wilted greens removed
  • A few tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 to 3 dozen steaming-hot corn tortillas

Companion recipe: Easy Corn Tortillas Roasted Poblano-Tomato Salsa with Fresh Thyme


In a small ungreased skillet, dry-roast the jalapenos over medium heat, turning them regularly until the chiles are soft and well darkened in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Place in a food processor or blender with 3/4 cup of the salsa, the Worcestershire and the juice from 3 or 4 lime wedges. Process to a smooth puree. Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer in a baking dish, pour the salsa mixture over them, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but not more than overnight.

Preheat a gas grill or light a charcoal fire and let burn until the coals are covered with gray ash. With a brush (or an oil mister), lightly coat the green onions with oil, then lay them over the fire in a part that's not too hot. Grill, turning them regularly, until they're soft, sweet and mouthwateringly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove 2 of the largest green onions, chop them into 1/4-inch pieces and stir into the remaining 1 1/4 cups of salsa. Squeeze another lime wedge or two over the remaining onions and keep them warm on the side of the grill or in a low oven.

Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, scraping as much as possible back into the pan; reserve the marinade. Brush (or mist) the chicken lightly on both sides with oil, lay on well-oiled hot grill grates until cooked through but still juicy, about 8 minutes per side. During the last couple of minutes on the grill, brush a nice coating of the reserved marinade over the chicken.

Slice the chicken into 1/2-inch-wide strips, scoop it onto a warm serving platter and flank with the grilled onions and lime wedges. Pass the platter with hot tortillas kept warm in a towel-lined basket. Let your guests make their own soft tacos with the chicken and grilled onions, encouraging them to spoon on the salsa-onion mixture and squeeze on lime to their liking.

NOTE: In Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen, we described a good method for heating corn tortillas. Wrap them by the dozen in clean kitchen towels, lay the packages in a single layer in a steamer, set the lid in place, bring the water to a strong boil for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. You may also heat the corn tortillas in the microwave (wrapped in microwave-grade plastic wrap in stacks of 10 to 12) for 1 minute on high before storing them in an insulated container, though they don't tend to be quite as freshly moist.

CREDIT: From SALSAS THAT COOK by Rick Bayless with JeanMarie Brownson & Deann Groen Bayless. Copyright 1988 by Richard Lane Bayless. Reprinted by permission of Fireside, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Simon and Schuster. All rights reserved.

RecID 1308

nutrition information per serving

515 calories; 9g total fat; 115mg cholesterol; 702mg sodium; 58g carbohydrates; 11g fiber; 55g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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