Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chicken Tinga

Chicken Tinga
Okay, I tend to talk about my teaching job quite a bit here, but really, I teach English as a second language to elementary age kids, and part of language development is working on oral language skills. Food is a topic applicable to ALL languages and cultures, so we end up talking about food quite a bit. Today I'd given my students a writing prompt that required them to write about a food they would like to learn how to cook, what they know about it, and why they want to learn how to cook it. We're still in the stage of prompt writing where I provide a lot of guidance, so there was more talking happening than writing today. 
Fourth grade Kelsi said she was going to write about "tinga." 
"What? Tica?" 
"No, tinga."
Laughs all around from my latino students. (I actually do speak Spanish, by the way. I just don't listen very well.)
"T-i-n-g-a," says Christian.
"Oh, let me get my iPad to look that up." That look-up led me to this recipe from Honest Cooking. I've never seen, heard of, nor eaten tinga, but I decided then and there to make it for dinner tonight. I think Kelsi will be expecting a report in the morning. Hopefully I'll have a blog post to show her.
Once I got home and really read the recipe, I thought that the original four onions called for seemed excessive. I wasn't sure what size onions the recipe author was talking about, so I changed it to what you see below. You can click on the link for the original recipe. I also added some spices because so many other recipes called for oregano, marjoram, and thyme. Well, of course I don't have marjoram, so I omitted that. What you see pictured and written below is what I came up with in the end.
Post Dinner Comments:
Whoa! This was a SPICY dish! I've never really used chipotle peppers in my cooking before, and holy smokes, this recipe calls for a 7 oz. can of them! I mean, I know that chipotles are dried jalepeno peppers, but for some reason I didn't think about their heat. I really should have clued in when I saw that other recipes only called for two tablespoons of the chipotle adobo sauce. Next time I'll be putting in much, much less of that stuff. My husband thought it was awesome. I ate my one chicken tinga, but that's all I could take. The flavor was delicious, just super spicy. 
I don't know if it was my worked-over taste buds, but along with the heat, I thought this dish tasted sweet. I mean, I tried to eat a plain fried tortilla to neutralize the heat in my mouth, but it tasted really, really sweet. So sweet that I looked at the ingredients on the package to see if this new brand put sugar in their corn tortillas. Nope. My taste buds are just messed up for the moment. All that to say, tasty meal; very spicy. Good Mexican food for sure. 

Chicken Tinga
     --adapted from Honest Cooking


  • 1 large tomato, quartered

  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 medium onion, quartered

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
 (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 7 ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
 (use less to make it more mild)
  • 4 teaspoons of salt, more or less to taste

  • 2 pounds skinless/boneless chicken breast

  • 6 cups of water

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • more oil for frying
  • Toppings
 (all optional)
  • Refried beans
  • Iceberg lettuce, finely sliced 
  • Avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced

  • Mexican crema or sour cream

  • Queso fresco or Cotija, crumbled

  • Salsa of your choice 
1. In a medium sized pot: place chicken, 6 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 garlic clove, and 2 quarters of an onion. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes on medium to high heat. Reserve the stock. Allow the chicken to cool and then shred it.
2. In a blender add the remainder of the quartered onion and 1 tomato, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 chopped garlic clove, and enough chicken broth to fill the blender half way and blend until smooth.
3. Heat the oil in a large and deep pan over medium heat. Once it is hot but not smoking, stir in the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Then add chopped tomato, oregano, and thyme, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add the cooked shredded chicken, the chipotle sauce from the blender and more chicken broth if it is too dry. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste.
4. In heavy skillet heat one-quarter inch oil. Fry tortillas, one at a time, in hot oil for 20 to 40 seconds on each side or till crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in foil in 250 degrees oven. Store bought tostadas can also be used.
5. To assemble, place a warm tostada on a serving plate and spread with some refried beans, if desired; spoon on chicken tinga. Add lettuce, avocado, crema/sour cream, queso fresco and salsa (any or all, if desired).

Serves: 10


  1. Looks really yummy :)

  2. My mother always makes this. I'm going to try your version!


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