Chicken Tinga Recipe
Chicken tinga is an ultra comforting chicken braise that’s ready in an hour and a half without much effort. It’s smoky and schmaltzy with an acidic balance from tomatoes and cider vinegar. It can be made with breasts or thighs, the thighs will give you more fat and a richer flavor, but have a less consistently tender texture when shredded. This recipe usually produces a fair amount of excess sauce, some of which can be scooped on to the taco, but the rest is great for sopping up with rice, or cooking beans in.
2 pounds bone in, skin on chicken breasts or thighs (about 2 breasts or 4 thighs)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Mexican or other oregano
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken stock
1 28 oz can whole san marzano tomatoes
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped, plus some liquid
1 ½ Tbsp Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp fish sauce (optional)
Makes enough for tacos for 4
- Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven, or medium sized pot with a tight fitting lid, sear, skin side down in the olive oil on medium high for 3-4 minutes, or until skin turns golden brown. Flip and brown on the opposite side (2-3 minutes), the majority of the chicken should remain quite raw. Remove from pot
- Immediately add onions, don’t discard that delicious fat! It’s the key to the comforting flavor and silky texture of the dish. Cook onions until slightly translucent, then add garlic and oregano. If you have too much browning at the bottom of the pot, you can use a little bit of the cider vinegar to deglaze at this point. Cook until the garlic becomes aromatic, about 30 seconds
- Pour in the chicken stock, and the tomatoes (with all the liquid), and stir, place the chicken back in the pot, skin side up, and bring everything to a boil
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes, or until chicken is shreddable but still a little undercooked close to the bone. Don’t worry too much about overcooking since there’s plenty of sauce to prevent the chicken from drying out. Remove breasts from cooking liquid. Turn the liquid up to a high simmer and reduce liquid by half
- While the sauce is reducing, allow the chicken to cool a little, or don’t, depending on your level of patience and how you feel about burning yourself. Shred the chicken off the bone with two forks, you’ll probably need to use your hands towards the end of this process
- Once the sauce is reduced, add the chipotles in adobo and blend the contents of the pot with an immersion blender, season to taste with remaining vinegar, fish sauce, and salt (if needed)
- Place the shredded chicken back in the pot and cook on a low simmer for twenty minutes
- Top with diced onions, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice, or whatever you want, but make sure to serve on a fresh toasted Mi Tierra tortilla.
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