Chipotle Tenderloin Tacos

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Tenderloin is an elegant yet quick-cooking cut of meat. It is tender but mild in flavor, which allows the chile flavor to come through. It is a special-occasion taco, no doubt!


Cotija is a crumbly, sharp Mexican cheese. You could substitute feta or goat cheese.Variation

I also serve this without the chipotle chile peppers so that it will go with other salsas. Follow Step 1, but eliminate chipotles. Serve this taco with Creamy Corn Salsa or Tomatillo Avocado Salsa.

Skillet-Warmed Corn Tortillas

This method gives you a soft, pliable tortilla that is lightly toasted on one or both sides. Place a dry nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Place tortilla in skillet and heat each side by turning once until warm and pliable, about 1 minute per side. Place in a tortilla warmer or wrap in foil to keep warm until ready to use.

Makes12 tacos


Total Timeunder 4 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, game day

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Texturemeaty, savory


  • 13- by 9-inch (33 by 23 cm) glass baking dish, greased
  • Instant-read thermometer
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt, or to taste 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp cracked black peppercorns 15 mL
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 lbs beef tenderloin, trimmed 1 kg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 15 mL
  • 3 chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce, puréed 
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce or green cabbage 500 mL
  • 3 tbsp minced cilantro leaves 45 mL
  • 12 6-inch (15 cm) corn tortillas (see Notes)
  • ¾ cup crumbled Cotija cheese (see Notes) 175 mL


  1. In a small bowl, combine salt, peppercorns and garlic. Set aside. Place tenderloin in prepared baking dish. Coat top and sides of meat with olive oil. Press garlic mixture on top and sides of tenderloin. Then spread chiles on surface of meat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

  2. Thirty minutes before baking, remove meat from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 375°F (l90°C). Bake on top shelf until juices run clear or an instant-read thermometer placed in center of tenderloin reads 135°F (57°C), 20 to 25 minutes for medium-rare. Switch oven setting to broil and broil until meat is crusty, 5 to 10 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes before carving. Cut meat across the grain into ¼-inch (0.5 cm) slices.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine lettuce and cilantro.

  4. To build tacos, skillet warm tortillas. Divide meat equally among tortillas. Top with cheese and lettuce mixture. Fold tortillas in half.


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