Chicken Tinga Taco Recipe
I love this recipe because it’s so easy to make and versatile. You can use leftover chicken or any other protein. If you want to stay vegetarian, tinga sauce goes well with mushrooms or jackfruit.
Technical tip: Prepare the sauce and / or the chicken in advance. Preparing it the night before will help make it a very easy snack or a quick dinner.
Exchange option: Alternatively, you use the tinga sauce to make tacos, burritos, sandwiches, etc. If you don’t want to cook the chicken yourself, you can use cooked chicken from the market or leftover roast chicken. The cheese mix can be personalized to your preferences. Queso menonita (aka queso Chihuahua) is ideal, but if you can’t find it, a mild cheddar is perfect.
For the marinated red onion:
Put the vinegar, habanero and hibiscus in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Place the onions in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot liquid over the onions and let stand until they cool to room temperature.
Place in the refrigerator and marinate the onions for 24 hours before using them.
For the poached chicken:
Place the chicken in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover the 3-inch chicken. Add salt and then turn the stove on to medium-high heat.
After about 15 minutes there will be a considerable amount of foam coming to the top. Skim the foam on top with a skimmer. Once the foam is removed, lower the heat to low, add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and slowly poach until you can see the meat start to come off the bone (you don’t want to overcook at this. stage because you will be cooking the chicken later). It should take about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the chicken sit in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it.
Remove from the pot and let the chicken cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bone. Reserve the meat for later use and discard the bones.
For the tinga sauce:
Put a large saucepan on low heat and add the butter.
Let the butter melt, then add the onions, garlic and poblano peppers, if using. Cook the vegetables very slowly until they are tender and translucent. Once they are soft. add the tomatoes, chipotles and about 2 cups of water.
Simmer for about an hour, until the tomatoes are broken down and can be easily mashed with a fork. Salt then remove from heat.
Blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning and consistency. It should be around the consistency of tomato sauce; add water if needed. Reserve for later use.
For the tacos:
In a medium pot, add the chicken and enough sauce to cover. Add the caramelized onions and poblanos, if desired. Heat over medium-low heat until the chicken has absorbed most of the sauce. Add sauce or water as needed to adjust the consistency.
Heat the griddle and briefly reheat the tortillas on both sides. The tortillas at this point should only be softened. Remove the tortilla from the hotplate and set aside.
Add a tortilla-sized mound of cheese directly to the griddle. Cook the cheese until it caramelizes and turns a deep golden brown.
Place a softened tortilla over the cheese, press down lightly and let the two cook together for about 20 seconds before flipping. Remove the tortilla and cheese from the griddle.
Place a small amount of chicken tinga in the center of the tortilla. Garnish with sliced avocado, pickled red onion and cilantro leaves, and serve.