Chicken Tinga Tacos

With all of the craziness of the holiday season, posting has been a little lighter than normal. Fortunately, I have been cooking the entire time- Christmas cookies, a very belated Friendsgiving, and this recipe for Chicken Tinga Tacos. I have mentioned before that I subscribe to numerous cooking magazines, and in effort to put many of the recipes to use, I have made a pact to try at least 1 recipe per week from a magazine. This recipe was at the top of my list in recipes to try, and for good reasons.

The chicken tinga tacos are divine. Deliciously spicy, juicy, and seasoned well, they pair well with a slaw, some lettuce, or just on top of a salad. The recipe is very easy to prepare, and more importantly, can be made in a slow cooker if desired. I chose to follow the recipe word for word, but have had friends who made the dinner in a slow cooker. I also made it on a Sunday, and served it on a Tuesday. It actually tastes better after the first day. The recipe is a winner in my book, and I'll be using it quite frequently in the future as I have just received my first poultry share from John Crow Farms.

Chicken Tinga Tacos
from Food & Wine Magazine, December 2011


1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 pounds trimmed, skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (I used boneless thighs)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 canned chipotles in adobo, coarsely chopped (2 chipotles, not 2 cans)
1 cup chicken broth
12-24 corn tortillas
2 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled
Sliced scallions and chopped cilantro, for garnish


Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and pour off the fat in the skillet.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet along with the onion (I used the chicken drippings instead of the additional OO). Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned and softened, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the chipotles and the broth and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and slightly reduced, 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Transfer the sauce to a food processor and let cool for 15 minutes. Puree until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Bake the chicken uncovered in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, until the meat is tender and the sauce is very thick and darkened around the edges. Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred the meat; discard the bones. Return the chicken meat to the sauce. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of chicken onto each tortilla and sprinkle with the crumbled cheese. Garnish the chicken tacos with the scallions and chopped cilantro and serve hot.

MAKE AHEAD: The tinga can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and reheated gently.

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