Chicken Tinga Tacos
The weeks spent perfecting chicken tinga were undoubtedly some my favorite in the kitchen. Not only were we eating amazing tacos every few days, but our friends also kept dropping in for dinner. Once you’ve tasted these tacos, it is not hard to see why.
What we have here is a dish of chicken thighs simmered in broth, tomato, and chipotle until easily shredded. Further depth is added to the sauce with the right amount of spice, alliums, acids, and just a touch of sugar. Like many Mexican meat preparations, the final product is a perfect filling for tacos or burritos, or simply a delicious meat to serve beside rice and beans.
Tinga originated in Puebla, Mexico, and refers to any meat stewed with tomatoes, onions, and chipotles. Recipes vary as well as opinions about whether the meat should be served in a taco, tostada, or with rice, but the backbone in all preparations is meat stewed in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce.
This is the first of three taco recipes that I will post this month. I had a blast perfecting them and am very excited to share them with you. Look forward to cooking up some amazing food in the coming days, and maybe look into buying yourself a special pair of taco tuesday sweatpants.
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium white onion, quartered and sliced in ½” slices
3 oz. tomato paste
½ cup chipotles in adobo, seeded if you don’t like heat
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
Half of 1 lime
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over medium-high heat. When hot, add chicken and onions. Cook for 5-10 minutes to get a bit of browning on the meat and onions.
When the meat is slightly browned, reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and tomato paste. Mix around well and cook for 3-5 minutes to slightly darken the tomato paste.
Add the chipotles in adobo (minced), cumin, sugar, vinegar, a bit of salt, and broth to the pot, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 45 minutes.
While simmering, stir occasionally, and check the tenderness of the chicken thighs. When finished, they should be tender enough to be pulled apart with two forks. If they seem tough, you can give the thighs a few jabs with a knife to help the liquid penetrate.
After 45 minutes, remove from heat. Taste the broth, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Remove the chicken thighs and shred them by pulling in opposite directions with two forks.
When the chicken is all shredded, place it in a serving dish and spoon the sauce and onions over the top. Try to get all of the solids from the pot, and spoon as much liquid over the top as you like. It can be quite spicy, so keep that in mind. Also squeeze half a lime over the serving dish.
Serve with warm corn tortillas and all your favorite taco accoutrements. I think this recipe needs no more than some crema or sour cream, cilantro, and maybe diced or pickled onions.