Chicken Tinga

Chicken Tinga
Chicken Tinga

Despite our increasing openness to global cuisine, Mexican food is still linked in the minds of some Americans to what can be had at drive-through chain restaurants. However, Mexico has unique culinary and agricultural traditions that span back centuries and reflect the local foods and cooking styles of their many, varied regions. Tinga de pollo or Chicken Tinga is from Puebla, a state in Mexico that is regarded as the birthplace of many of the dishes we consider to be "classic" Mexican fare, like mole poblana and chiles en nogada. It is also recognized as la cuna del maiz , “The Birthplace of Corn”. Traditionally Chicken Tinga is served as a stew or spooned on top of a crisp corn tostada, the latter is how our test group enjoyed them. This dish could also be used as a filling for tacos or burritos. Our taste testers loved the crunch the crispy tostadas brought in contrast to the tender chicken. We used fresh scallions and avocado to garnish our tostadas, which added another layer of contrast against the rich and smoky sweetness from the adobo sauce.

Our Chipotle Adobo Sauce, which creates the strong flavor base in the Tinga, looks much more complicated in writing than it actually is. A novice chef can do it. If you feel like cutting corners with the rest of the Chicken Tinga recipe, a pre-made roaster chicken can be substituted for the poached chicken breast, with a cup of chicken broth added to your Tinga sauce rather than the reserved poaching liquid.

If you’ve never peeled and deseeded your own tomatoes, have no fear! There are plenty of great tutorials out there, but it’s a lot easier than you might think and requires no fancy equipment. The simplest way is to score your tomato bottoms with a small “X” and blanch them in boiling water, or you can char them on a cast iron skillet to add more flavor.

This is a great dish to make ahead of time for meal prepping, or as a freezer meal during the school year- simply prepare the recipe as you normally would but store it in a freezer safe plastic bag or container. Since you’ll only need 2 tablespoons of our Chipotle Adobo sauce you can freeze the left over paste as well.

Chicken Tinga is dish that highlights the joy of using harmonizing flavors and allowing the mixture enough time to simmer at the end ensures the chicken can properly absorb all the richness of the other ingredients (and also that your kitchen will smell sensational). As the nights get a little cooler this dish might become a new comfort food staple in your home!

 Print Recipe

Prep Time: 20 min.
Cooking Time: 50 min.
Cuisine: Mexican
  1. In a Dutch oven or stock pot, bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil. Add chicken and cook for 20 minutes. Save broth. When chicken is cool enough to handle, roughly cut chicken and then shred it.
  2. In a food processor or blender, add tomatoes, Chipotle Adobo Sauce, 1 sliced garlic clove, Mexican oregano, and salt and pepper, and 1 cup reserved chicken broth. Blend until smooth.
  3. Preheat vegetable oil in a skillet to medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add 2 sliced garlic cloves and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomato mixture and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken and mix well. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve with tostadas, and scallions, limes, queso fresco, or fresh cilantro.