One of my primary goals as a parent is keeping my kids interested in food in as many ways as possible, be it trying new foods, new restaurants, helping me cook, or helping me plan our meals. Though some of this is conscious effort, I think the majority of it is simply my own overabundance of enthusiasm rubbing off on them. I talk about food in different cities and countries, chefs I admire, and so forth. One chef I talk about a lot is Rick Bayless. While menu planning last week, Andrew decided he wanted to choose a meal from one of my cookbooks. He went straight for the Rick Bayless books and it came as no surprise when, just minutes later, he had selected these tacos as his choice. What can I say? The kid has good taste.

Given the carnivorous nature of these tacos, this recipe is likely one I never would have chosen on my own, but I am so glad we tried them! They are quite simple to prepare, even with making the salsa. As always, tortillas from scratch are worth the effort and are absolutely necessary for truly excellent tacos. We all enjoyed these and will definitely make them again when we are craving a meal on the meatier side of things.

  • Yield about 4-5 servings


For the salsa: 

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed and halved
  • 2 chipotles in adobo
  • ¼ cup water
  • Kosher salt, to taste

For the tacos: 

  • 1 (7 oz.) can chipotles in adobo
  • 1 lb. skirt or flank steak
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium yellow onions, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Tortillas, for serving


  • 01

    Place a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and the tomatillos (cut side down) to the pan. Cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and the tomatillos are softened through, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the garlic and tomatillos from the pan to a blender or food processor (or bowl, if using an immersion blender.) Add in the chipotle and water and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

  • 02

    Heat the oven to its lowest setting. Process the full contents of the can of chipotle in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender until smooth and pureed. Brush a light layer of the chipotle puree over all surfaces of the steak. Heat a large heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until browning but not quite fully softened. Transfer the onions to an oven-safe dish and place in the oven to keep warm while you cook the steak.

  • 03

    Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the steak to the pan and cook, turning once, until cooked to your liking (about 4 minutes per side for medium). Remove to a plate and let rest about 5 minutes before slicing thinly. Toss with the warm onions. Serve with fresh tortillas and smoky tomatillo salsa for taco assembly.