Chicken Tinga

Chicken Tinga Tostada topped with ripe avocado, scotch bonnet queso fresco, and cilantro leaf.

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.

Chicken Tinga ingredients.

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.

Rehydrating ancho chiles

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.)

Poaching/boiling chicken breasts

Sautéing red onion strips and browning chorizo.

Preparing the sauce: onions, chorizo, and garlic

Sauce with blended tomatoes, ancho chiles, vinegar, sugar, and spice added

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.

Chicken Tinga tostada

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:

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.

Chicken Tinga with poached egg and queso fresco on spiced bread.

There are some complementary mexican recipes and interesting videos here:

18 responses

  1. Pingback: Scotch Bonnet Queso Fresco | Kitchen Convivial

  2. You are making me hungry tonight! I’m definitely going to be making this at some point! (I’m even going to pin it so I don’t forget!)

    • Thanks Pami. I’ll be making it again too; it’s sort of a comforting food, and I’m glad to have made a lot so I can give some more away and still have leftovers for myself this week.

      • I did update the post to say it took me 1 1/4 hours to make, so the day-long drive definitely isn’t worth it.

        That’d be a funny way to review food: “Pretty good; I’d drive 20 miles for these lasagna rolls.” :-)

  3. That looks amazing. I’ve been wanting to try chorizo for the longest time…this recipe gives me an excuse to buy it!

  4. Great idea to have some of the leftovers for breakfast (and beautiful photo of the egg yolk!). We have TONS of pork tinga leftovers from Saturday and at this rate I think they’re going to be lunch all week. Maybe we’ll switch things up and have some for breakfast, too. :-)

    • Nice, Annie! I wish we could swap. :-)
      I fed three people, initially, made a “taco kit” for another friend, and and meeting up for a lunch swap with another tomorrow. We can be food ambassordors!

      • I think we’re going to have to try making pork tinga burritos soon because we are going to run out of corn tortillas long before we run out of pork. We have some larger flour tortillas on hand so that will be our back up plan. :-)

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