Karen’s Mexican Pulled Chicken Tinga – and how to make fabulous tacos!
TINGA is a Mexican Specialty with pulled chicken in a full- flavored Chipotle-Tomato Sauce.
Moderately spicy and definitely smokey – top warm corn tortillas and add veggies of your choice such as Charred Corn & Onions, Avocado, Radishes and Herbs. Cotija cheese tops them off.
Great for a weeknight meal – or invite friends for a Taco Tinga Party! Recipe will make 10 tacos.
What you will do:
- Season the two chicken breasts (bone-in.) Cook them until golden on both sides vMake the Tinga Sauce
- Make the Tinga Sauce
- Add the chicken to the sauce, cover and cook about 35 minutes
- Remove Chicken, cool slightly – shred chicken
- Purée the sauce in the pan with an immersion blender.
- Remove Chicken, cool slightly – shred chicken; add some Tinga sauce to the chicken, stir in
- Make the tacos! You will have extra sauce for drizzling!
Really quite simple!
Originating in Puebla, Mexico, Chicken Tinga is an adaptable and authentic dish made with shredded chicken in a hearty, spicy red sauce. The dish likely originated from indigenous cuisines of the area using staple ingredients of tomato, onion and chipotles.
2 large bone in chicken breasts yields about 3 1/2 cups of shredded chicken! That’s enough for 10 tacos… or a few, with awesome leftovers for you next meal-time creation!
Simple Ingredients for the TINGA SAUCE:
- Whole Peeled Garlic Cloves
- Tomatoes in Puree
- Canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce
- Mexican Oregano
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Real Maple Syrup
- Chicken Broth (I use homemade for its flavor and low sodium content)
- Sea Salt
A little more detail…
Season the chicken with salt, pepper and chipotle powder (simply ground, dried chipotle peppers, no additives.) I use Chipotle Powder often, when I want more heat and complex flavor then smoked paprika!
Make the Tinga Sauce by browning the whole garlic cloves and onion in a dutch oven (or use a heavy, deep pot with a cover.) Add the rest of the ingredients and cook the sauce. I keep the ingredients chunky – less chopping… will get blended after the chicken cooks in it.
Add the Seasoned Chicken Breasts skin side up, cover and cook until cooked through – about 35 minutes (internal temperature 165 degrees) over a low simmer. Cool a bit, then shred with a fork, or pull with you fingers – will add some Tinga Sauce.
Purée the Sauce right in the pan with an Immersion Blender (can use a food processor or blender too.) Add a few tablespoons to the shredded chicken. Set aside remainder.
Make Tacos – see below.
Radishes come in many colors! I have used pink & green ones.
How to make Awesome Chicken & Veggie Tinga Tacos:
The Tacos ~ I use gluten free corn tortillas, brush them with a little oil and grill (right over a gas flame) or heat quickly in a stick proof skillet until softened.
Cook sliced onions and fresh corn kernels until slightly blackened.
Slice avocado, thinly slice colorful radishes (pickle them if you like!) Chop cilantro or parsley; crumble cotija cheese.
Add pulled chicken to the warm tacos top with extra Tinga Sauce to your liking – top with veggies, herbs & cotija cheese – fold and eat!
Some more Hints & Substitutions:
- Use yellow or – if you can find blue corn tortillas
- Crispy Taco Shells would be a good swap too, or tostadas
- Use the Tinga Chicken to top nachos, salads or even a topping for pizza Mexican-style
- Cheese: Can use Queso Fresco, or in a pinch- Feta Cheese
- Use the Veggies you like – think some cooked and some raw
- Beans can also work as a topping
- Salsa can be added too, although I would add a contrasting one: Green Tomatillo
- Like it extra spicy? Top tacos with thin sliced Jalapeño
Chipotle Peppers (dried chipotles) are sold in cans in adobo sauce. I most supermarkets and Mexican markets. Please read ingredients, ad some contain high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, and wheat flour, which you do not want.)
Mexican Oregano: Like its cousin lemon verbena, Mexican oregano has citrusy undertones—an earthy flavor with a hint of lime. It also has some mild licorice or anise notes to it, and it pairs well with other spices you might associate with Mexican dishes, including chilis, garlic, and cumin.
Enjoy the Tasty Tinga Sauce, Shredded Chicken & Taco-Making!
Let me know what you think! Will you make this recipe?
Karen's Mexican Pulled Chicken Tinga - and how to make fabulous tacos!
Seasoning the Chicken:
- 1 3/4 pounds chicken breasts on the bone 2 large ones
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 2 pinches each salt & pepper
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup onion medium, peeled, coarsely chopped
- 6 medium garlic cloves peeled, left whole
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 cup tomatoes in puree
- 2 medium chipotle peppers* (in adobe) from can
- 1 tablespoon adobe sauce (from chipotle can)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar I use organic Bragg variety
- 1 cup chicken broth preferably home made
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- Clean and dry chicken, add to a plate. Drizzle with one teaspoon evoo and rub all over with chipotle powder, salt & pepper.
- Heat a dutch oven to medium-high heat, add 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil. Add chicken, skin side down and cook until golden, about 2 minutes, turn over with tongs and cook 2 minutes more - Remove to a plate.
- Add onions and garlic to the fat left in the pan, cook stirring over moderate heat until they are golden, 4 minutes. Add oregano (crumble with your fingers), and stir a few seconds. Add chopped tomatoes in puree, chipotle peppers, adobe sauce, maple syrup & vinegar - stir well and simmer 3 minutes.
- Add chicken broth and sea salt, bring to a simmer. Add the chicken breasts into the sauce, skin side up. Spoon some sauce over the chicken (will be partially submerged in the sauce.)When the sauce is simmering - cover and cook until the chicken has cooked through, and is firm to the touch (165 degrees is just right) about 35 minutes. (Check that the sauce is just simmering, not higher heat.)
- Remove chicken to a clean plate to cool slightly. Puree the sauce using an emersion blender**
- Remove skin, simply shred the chicken with a fork - place in a bowl with some Tinga Sauce it has cooked in. Discard all bones. You will use most of the remaining Tinga Sauce for the tacos. Yields: approximately 3 1/2 cups shredded chicken.
Let's Make Tacos! Ingredients:
- 10 corn tortillas, heated in a skillet with a little oil.Sauté 1 medium onion, sliced in evoo until cooked and slightly blackened. Sauté corn kernels from one ear in evoo until cooked and slightly blackened. Slice colorful radishes very thin - pickle them if you like. Slice half of a avocado thinly. Chop 3 tablespoons of cilantro or parsley. Crumble 1/2 cup Cotija cheese.
- Add a portion of pulled chicken on each tortilla - top with 2 teaspoons Tinga Sauce. Portion and add all vegetables, herbs and cheese. Fold and eat! Serve with some Tinga Sauce on the side.