On a quest for more delicious Mexican food, I found several recipes for Chicken Tinga. I speak a little Spanish but had no idea what “tinga” meant. After a quick search, I found that it translates to “uproar” and that’s exactly what this recipe does. It causes an uproar with your taste buds. Bright, bold flavors just explode in your mouth.
This is a meal that is definitely guest worthy. It’s also a great addition to a taco bar. It could be prepared a day or two before and reheated when ready to begin serving. All you need to do is prepare the shells and accompaniments. Less work for the host on party day. Who doesn’t love that? That’s exactly what I did when our daughter called and requested taco night with all the siblings.
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (breasts could be used but thighs are more flavorful IMO)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (more if you want it really spicy)
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
zest of one lime
2 tablespoons lime juice
12 corn tortillas, warmed
1. Pat dry the chicken thighs with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper
2. Heat one tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When sizzling, add half the chicken thighs and brown 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the thighs and continue to brown the remainder of the thighs. Do not overcrowd the pan as this will cause them to braise. You are looking for a lightly browned thigh that leaves all the goodness in the bottom of the pan. Remove this batch from the pan
3. Add the other tablespoon of oil to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions. Cook for approximately 5 minutes until the onions are a light golden color
4. Add the garlic, cumin, and cinnamon and cook for about one minute
5. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, chipotle chilis, adobo sauce, and brown sugar to the pot. Scrape all the delicious goodies from the bottom of the pan. This is FLAVOR!
6. Return the chicken to the pot. Simmer for 15-20 minutes turning the chicken once during cooking
7. Remove the chicken and set aside. Pour the sauce into a blender and blend for about 30 seconds until you have a smooth consistency. (I first tried using an immersion blender but it did not achieve the smooth consistency I was looking for.)
8. Return the sauce to the pot. When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred the chicken and add it to the sauce in the pot. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently.
9. Stir in lime zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
The chicken doesn’t have to be fully cooked when you brown it. It will continue cooking as it simmers in the sauce.
The secret to this recipe is in the sauce. I could drink it from a cup!
For the accompaniments, I used avocado, cilantro, scallions, Cotija cheese, tomatoes, and lime wedges. If you can’t find Cotija cheese, feta cheese is a good substitute.
It turns out, this wasn’t just a random gathering of the siblings. It was a surprise announcement that we were going to be grandparents again! Grandbaby #10 is due in May 2019. Babies and tacos…it doesn’t get much better!