I’m a huge fan of Mexican and Tex-Mex food; if pressed, I usually say it’s my favorite. As such, I was surprised that, to the best of my recollection, I’d not heard of this fantastic dish.
In preface, I can say that after making this in my kitchen, I’m pretty sure my house has never smelled so good. Perhaps it did on Thanksgiving Day. :-)
My inspiration was: (a) to make something Mexican in honor of Cinco de Mayo – despite the idiocy that sometimes surrounds its “observance” in the U.S., and (b) to use up my chorizo.
I started with this impressive recipe: chicken tinga, apparently by a Kiwi chef now living in the Yucatan. One thing that struck me about this recipe is that many ingredients are used twice: to poach the chicken and also to make the sauce.
Here’s are my modifications:
- I used well over 2 pounds of chicken breasts; perhaps 5, so approximately doubled the onion and spices to poach the chicken.
- I used dried thyme and oregano rather than fresh.
- I used one medium to large red onion (rather than white) in the sauce.
- I used reconstituted dried ancho chilies (~7 small-medium), rather than using chipotle chilies in adobo sauce.
- I used the water from the rehydrated chilies both to boil the chicken, and as part of the blended portion of the sauce.
- I used 1 14.5 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, instead of fresh tomatoes.
- I used 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 apple cider vinegar.
- I used an additional 1 T. brown sugar, to taste, to balance the vinegar.
First, when rehydrating ancho chilies, I do as Rick Bayless suggested, and cover them with a small plate to keep them submerged, for 30-45 minutes. Remove the stems and the seeds and rinse them before blending them into the sauce.
I tasted the chicken before combining it with the sauce, and it was quite flavorful on its own. (I’ve often prepared chicken breasts for pulled or shredded chicken by boiling it in V8 juice; that’s a nice short-cut, but not nearly as good as with these spices.)
My total prep time was about 1 1/4 hours, including a wait for the chicken to cool so that I could pull or shred it rather finely, finishing by stirring it into the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes.
I took the Chicken Tinga to a friend’s house where we served atop both crisp tostadas and warmed corn tortillas along with shredded iceberg lettuce, ripe avocado, cilanto leaves, and crumbled Scotch Bonnet Queso Fresco.
I’m really happy with how this Chicken Tinga turned out, and, if I’m to believe them, so were the 3 friends, including one child, that have tasted it so far! I can also suggest the substitution of ancho chilies (that are just a bit spicy); their flavor worked really well in the sauce.
Here’s the recipe that I adapted:
- chicken tinga
It is so good that I don’t even mind that they kicked my ass by beautifully photographing their version of this dish. :-)
- Three ways with Chicken Tinga (video)
On a subsequent morning, I placed a poached egg atop Chicken Tinga for a nice breakfast from the leftovers… a serving suggestion from the video linked above.
There are some complementary mexican recipes and interesting videos here: