- Split open each softened ancho chile and rinse the inside to the stem and all seeds (wearing gloves is recommended). Place in the bowl of a food processor or blender.
- Strain adobo sauce into a small bowl, discarding peppers or reserving for another use. Press down on the peppers to extract as much liquid as possible (you should have at least ¼ c.). For an especially spicy dish, add chipotle pepper seeds to taste. Add strained liquid to the food processor.
- Add red onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, 2 T. salt, and 2 tsp. pepper to the food processor. Pulse several times until a coarse paste develops.
- With the motor running, pour ¼ c. canola oil through the feeding tube and continue to process until smooth. You should have two cups of marinade. Reserve one cup for immediate use and freeze the remaining for future use.
- Meanwhile, place half the chicken in a large freezer-safe plastic bag. Spoon in half the marinade, close the bag, and mash around to distribute. Add in remaining chicken, remaining ½ c. marinade, and repeat the mashing until all chicken is evenly coated. Place the plastic bag in a dish and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
- To cook on a grill, indoor grill pan, or cast iron skillet (preferred method for dark meat), preheat over medium-high heat. Coat with 2 T. canola oil. Grill the chicken in batches, turning occasionally until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on a thermometer and bits of caramelized fond have begun to cling to the outside of the chicken, 10 to 15 minutes. Add 1 - 2 T. oil to your grilling surface between batches.
- To bake in the oven (preferred method for white meat), preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a baking dish with oil or nonstick spray and arrange chicken in a single layer. Cover with parchment paper, tucking the paper around the chicken so it is completely covered. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken reaches 165°F when tested with an internal thermometer.
- Remove to a cutting board and chop into small pieces. Season to taste with salt. Serve on tortillas or in bowls with additional toppings as desired.
NOTE: ¼ c. Ancho Chili Pepper powder may be substituted for the dried Ancho chiles. Skip step 1 and add the powder with the other spices in Step 3. After processing the marinade in a food processor, pour into a measuring cup. Add water to reach a total of 2 cups of marinade.
To soak the chiles, place in a bowl and add enough water to cover completely. Top with a small plate or bowl to weigh down the chiles so they are completely submerged.
- 1 (2 oz.) package dried ancho chiles, soaked at least 12 hours (see notes)
- 1 (7 oz.) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup canola oil, plus more for oiling the cooking surface
- 5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken, trimmed