Tacos de Chivo with Chile Colorado Sauce and Tomatillo Salsa

October 4, 2013

Today is National Taco Day and we're celebrating with these delicious Tacos de Chivo (Goat Tacos) from celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez. Did you know that Americans ate 4.5 billion tacos last year? But chances are most of them weren't goat. This succulent meat is delicious wrapped within warm corn tortillas. The secret to this authentic dish is what he braises the goat in: his signature Chile Colorado Sauce, a tangy and sweet sauce packed with flavor from ancho and guajillo chiles.

Tacos de Chivo

Aarón Sánchez for Simple Food, Big Flavor

Makes 16 to 24 tacos

One 3½- to 4- pound bone-in cut of goat (chivo) or lamb, such as shoulder or leg
2 cups Chile Colorado Sauce (recipe below)

16 to 24 corn tortillas
Sliced radishes
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (recipe below)
Chopped fresh cilantro
Chopped white onion
Lime wedges

Put the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Put the meat in a shallow 3-quart baking dish. Generously season the meat with salt. Pour the Chile Colorado Sauce over the meat and rub it on all sides of the meat. Cover the dish tightly with two layers of foil and cook in the oven until the meat is very tender, 3 to 3½ hours.

Take the dish from the oven (keep the oven on), remove and reserve the foil, and let the meat cool in its liquid for about 30 minutes.

When it’s cool enough to handle, coarsely shred the meat with your fingers or forks, discarding the bones. Return the meat to the cooking liquid, stir, cover the dish again with the foil, and return it in the oven until the sauce is hot, about 30 minutes.

After about 15 minutes, make two stacks of tortillas, wrap the stacks in foil, and put them in the oven to heat.

Serve the meat in the baking dish with the tortillas and other accompaniments in bowls alongside, and let everyone assemble their own tacos at the table.

Chile Colorado Sauce
Makes 2 Quarts

3 medium Spanish or white onions, quartered
8 medium fresh tomatillos, husked and washed
4 plum tomatoes, cored and quartered
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
Olive oil, for drizzling
1 ancho chile (½ ounce), stemmed, seeded, and deveined
2 guajillo chiles (½ ounce), stemmed, seeded, and deveined
1 quart chicken stock (low-sodium store-bought is fine)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler.

Put the onion, tomatillos, tomatoes and garlic on a baking pan and drizzle them with olive oil. Put the baking sheet under the broiler and cook without turning until the vegetables start to get charred, about 7 minutes. Remove, set aside, and let cool to room temperature.

In a large dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the guajillos, turning them over halfway through, just until they smell great, about 1 minute. Transfer them to a bowl, cover them with hot water and let them soak until they’re soft, about 30 minutes. Drain the chiles and discard the soaking water.

Combine the vegetables and chiles in a blender with the chicken stock (you’ll have to work in batches) and puree until the mixture is very smooth. Transfer each batch to a bowl as it’s done, and stir the batches together well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month. 

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Makes approximately 3 cups

1½ pounds fresh tomatillos
5 fresh serrano of 10 jalapeño chiles, stemmed (seeds too for added heat)
3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 large white onion, peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler. Remove the husks from the tomatillos. Rinse the tomatillos under warm water to remove the stickiness. Dry them with a paper towel.

Put the tomatillos, chiles, garlic, and onion on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with the olive oil and sprinkle on 2 teaspoons or so of kosher salt. Broil them a few inches from the heat, turning everything once, until the tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 7 minutes.

Let the vegetables cool to room temperature. Transfer them to a blender with the cilantro and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for up to 2 months.