Friday, January 13, 2012

Tinga! Tinga! Tinga!

A "tinga," as it is called in Puebla, is a classic of Central Mexico. It consists of a blend of shredded meat simmered with fresh local ingredients, usually used to make tacos, tortas, and tostadas. This recipe for "Smoky Shredded Chicken and Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes (Tinga de Pollo y Papas)" is delicious and it's smoky, slightly spicy flavors appeal to everyone! For a casual dinner or buffet, serve in a warm, deep, serving dish, topped with the cheese and avocado, a big green salad, and lots of hot tortillas for making tacos. A nice cold cerveza would be nice, too!

Alternately, you can top individual corn tortilla chips to make "tiny tostadas," a perfect accompaniment to margaritas! Perfect party food, and pretty, too!

Smoky Shredded Chicken and Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes (Tinga de Pollo y Papas)

Serves 4, about 4 cups


For the sauce
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
12 ounces (2 medium-small round or 4-6 plum) ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

For the tinga
4 medium (1 1/2 pounds total) chicken thighs, skin removed
4 medium boiling potatoes (like the red-skin ones)
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
Salt, about 3/4 teaspoon
1/3 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or pressed, salted farmer's cheese
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced


For the sauce
Roast the unpeeled garlic on a griddle or skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until soft (they will blacken in spots), about 15 minutes; cool and peel. Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on one side, about 6 minutes, then flip and roast the other side. Cool, then peel, collecting any juices with the tomatoes. 

In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes and their juices, chipotle chiles, and garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy, medium (2 to 3 quart) saucepan over medium-high. Add the puree and stir for about 5 minutes as it sears and thickens.

For the tinga
Nestle the skinless thighs into the sauce, cover, and set over medium-low heat. Cook for about 25 minutes, until the meat is thoroughly tender. Remove the chicken to a plate, leaving as much sauce as possible in the pan. Cool, then pull the meat from the bones in large shreds; there will be about 2 cups.

With a food processor or hand grater, coarsely shred the potatoes. Squeeze between your hands to remove as much water as possible.

Finishing the dish
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high in a large 10"-12" nonstick or well-seasoned skillet. Add the onion and potatoes and cook, stirring and scraping up any sticking bits, until well browned, about 15 minutes. Scrape in the sauce and oregano, bring to a boil, stir in the chicken, and heat through, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Scoop into a warm, deep, decorative serving dish. Sprinkle with cheese, strew with avocado and serve without hesitation. This can be made a day ahead, cover, refrigerate. Warm in a 400 degree oven, covered with foil, garnish with cheese and avocado, and serve.

Recipe adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen.


  1. Made this for my husband who is from Mexico and he loved it! Served with corn tortillas. Will make again.

  2. Have looked at a few recipes for that today and yours is the first to include potato. And I love potatoes!  ∩_

    1. I love the addition of potato! You'll love it! Thanks for visiting my site!