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Chicken Tinga

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Chicken Tinga

Photo by Penny De Los Santos
Author Notes

This is a recipe perfectly suited for days when extra kids end up at your counter for lunch. It’s simple to make, and it can be refashioned in so many ways. Shredded cooked chicken, (rotisserie chicken works beautifully) is sauced with a combination of tomato, onion, garlic, chipotles in adobo sauce, spices, and tomatillos, all ingredients that are easy to have on hand.

I usually make a double batch. Once it is ready, I serve half of it one night as a main entrée with a side of Mexican Red Rice and Refried Beans, or with the Blissful Corn Torte and salad. Then I have the other half to repurpose over the next few days as a delicious filling for rich and tasty tinga-dillas, tortas or tostadas. —Pati Jinich

  • Serves

  • 8

    ripe Roma tomatoes (about 2 pounds), rinsed

  • 2-3

    tomatillos (about 1/4 pound), husks removed, rinsed

  • 3 tablespoons

    vegetable oil

  • 1 cup

    chopped white onion

  • 2

    garlic cloves, minced or pressed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    dried marjoram

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    dried thyme

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher or coarse sea salt, more or less to taste

  • 2 tablespoons

    sauce from chipotle chiles in adobo

  • 1

    whole chipotle chile in adobo, chopped (optional)

  • 5 cups

    cooked shredded chicken, or shredded rotisserie chicken

  • 1 1/2 cups

    chicken broth

  1. Place the tomatoes and tomatillos in a medium 3-quart saucepan and cover with water. Set the saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes and tomatillos are thoroughly cooked and mushy, but not coming apart. Their color will change from bright to dull. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a blender or food processor. Cool slightly and then process until smooth.
  2. Heat the oil in a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant and begins to lightly brown, less than a minute.
  3. Carefully pour the pureed tomato-tomatillo sauce into the skillet. It will steam and bubble; that’s ok! Stir in the oregano, marjoram, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Add the adobo sauce and the chipotle chile if using (you can add more sauce and chiles near the end if you decide you want more heat). Continue to simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until it deepens in color, becoming a darker and earthier red, and is no longer soupy, 10 to 12 minutes. You may want to partially cover the skillet with a lid as it cooks, as the sauce will spatter.
  4. Add the chicken and the chicken broth to the sauce and toss over the heat until it’s well mixed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken has absorbed almost all of the sauce and is moist but not runny, 6 to 8 minutes more. Serve hot.

I forgo my job in the Washington DC policy research world to research, test, taste, cook, write, teach and talk about Mexican food. Not only because of nostalgia and desire to connect to my roots, but because I love sharing all I learn and I am fascinated by Mexico cuisine’s richness and depth.

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