Chicken tinga is a Mexican preparation of chicken that involves shredding chicken that’s been boiled in water flavored by some simple aromatics. The chicken is then added to a really simple, tomato-based sauce. The real secret though is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which is going to give the sauce a rich and smoky flavor.
1 can of peppers in adobo sauce
12oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes (or tomatoe puree)
1 white onion
Tortillas of your choosing
boneless skinless chicken breast (1 breast/2 people)
½ avocado per person
Step 1 - boil your chicken
Let’s get our water ready to boil our chicken breast.
Fill up a medium pot of water halfway. To it, add two crushed garlic cloves (skin-on baby!) and one, in-tact half of a white or yellow onion. Skin, root, and all. Optionally cut off and add the stems of your bunch of cilantro. Season generously with salt (think pasta water here). Bring to a boil.
Once the water reaches a boil, drop in your whole chicken breast and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the chicken in the water for about 25 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, we’ll have a quick and easy light chicken broth! If you want, you can save this for sippin’ or cookin’.
Step 2 - prep you garnish
While the chicken is bathing, finely dice the remaining half of your onion. Save half for garnish, and half for the sauce.
To complete garnish prep, slice up half of your avocado and chop up a large handful of fresh cilantro. Set aside half your diced onion, your cilantro, and your avocado.
Last item of prep is to remove one pepper from your can of adobo and finely chop it. Reserve for sauce. Get your finger in there and taste it! It’s important to know what you’re adding to your food. This brings heat, smokiness, and a beautiful acidity to the sauce.
Step 3 - make your sauce
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with a splash of olive oil. After about a minute, add the diced onions you reserved for the sauce and season them with salt. Soften them up for about 3-4 minutes, we don’t need color here.
Once they’re soft, add your 12oz can of diced tomatoes and your chopped adobo pepper to the sauce. If you liked the adobo, add an additional spoonful of the adobo sauce from the can. Season the contents of the pan with cumin and dried oregano. Cumin and oregano are spices that are extremely important in Mexican cuisine.
Use the back of your spoon to crush up the tomatoes as best you can, so the sauce can take on a bit of a smoother consistency. Traditionally it’s blended (but it’s a week night, so).
Let the sauce simmer away on medium heat until your chicken is ready.
Step 4 - shred your chicken
Once your chicken is cooked, remove it from the broth and place on a plate to cool.
Remove about a half cup of your broth from the pot using a mug or measuring cup and add it into your simmering sauce. Mix it in to thin things out a bit. Bring that baby back up to a simmer.
Take your chicken breast and shred it up! We like using two forks to pull it apart, but you can use your hands if you want. We’re shredding it to make sure it can really get coated in your sauce.
Step 5 - plate
Before adding the chicken back into the sauce, taste it for seasoning! We have a sneaking suspicion it probably needs salt. Feel free to add more cumin or oregano as well. Once, seasoned to your liking, add your shredded chicken and cook together for 2-3 minutes or until coated well.
Time to assemble your tacos! From here, everything is up to you, but we strongly, strongly, recommend charing your tortillas over your gas flame if you have one, we promise, they won’t burn :)