Tinga de Pollo
(Mexican shredded chicken in tomato-chipotle sauce)
This shredded chicken, flavored with the smoky, slow burn of chipotle peppers, is a perfect topping for tacos and tostadas. It's also an authentic and excellent filling for burritos and enchiladas. Tinga originated in the Mexican state of Puebla.
6 to 8 servings
- Chicken breasts, boneless and skinless -- 2 pounds
- Salt -- 2 teaspoons
- Oil -- 2 or 3 tablespoons
- Onion, sliced thinly -- 2
- Garlic, minced -- 2 or 3 cloves
- Tomatoes, seeded and chopped -- about 2 cups
- Canned chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped -- 3 or 4
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Place the chicken breasts in a large saucepan and add the salt and water to cover by about one inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high flame, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the chicken to a plate to cool, reserving the cooking broth.
- Heat the oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic, and saute until the onion is cooked through and translucent, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and chipotles and a little bit of the reserved broth. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, shred the chicken breasts with your fingers or a fork. Stir into the simmering sauce and add a little more reserved broth if needed to form a nice sauce that coats the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, adjust seasoning and serve on tostadas or in tacos or use to stuff enchiladas or burritos.
- Tinga de res (Beef tinga): Use beef skirt steak or stewing meat. Beef will need to cook longer (1 1/2 to 2 hours) to become tender enough to shred.
- Tinga de cerdo (Pork tinga): Use pork loin and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Chipotles: Canned chipotles in adobo sauce are available in Latin markets and most major grocery stores. Vary the amount of chipotles to your taste. More for spicier tinga, less for a more mild version. But do try to include them. The smoky note of the peppers is what gives tinga its authentic flavor.
- Optional seasonings: A pinch of dried oregano or thyme. A bay leaf or two.
- It's not traditional, but try substituting fresh or canned tomatillos instead of tomatoes for a different flavor twist.