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Food

How to Make Tinga de Pollo: Authentic Chicken Tinga Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Feb 28, 2020 • 3 min read

Learn how to make tinga de pollo, or chicken tinga, a classic Mexican dish.

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What Is Chicken Tinga?

In the city of Puebla, the popular tinga taco, or stew taco, is often made from chicken braised in a mild chipotle-tomato sauce seasoned with garlic and a bit of piloncillo, or raw cane sugar. The meat is shredded, served in a tortilla, and topped with chopped onion, cilantro, and lime. You can also serve chicken tinga on top of tostadas or inside burritos or enchiladas.

How to Make Chicken Tinga

Easy enough for a weeknight dinner, homemade chicken tinga is packed with flavor but only mildly spicy.

  1. Make the tomato-chipotle sauce. Using canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and fire-roasted tomatoes is a shortcut that allows you to have chicken tacos on a weeknight. Roughly chop the chipotle chiles and add them to a blender or food processor, puréeing along with diced tomatoes and chicken stock. You can add spices, like Mexican oregano, cumin, salt and black pepper, and garlic cloves. Sauté a sliced white or yellow onion in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the sliced onions have softened, add the sauce to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer until flavors have melded.
  2. Add the chicken. Add whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts and simmer until cooked through and tender. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool slightly. Alternatively, use leftover cooked chicken, such as a rotisserie chicken.
  3. Shred the chicken. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use a fork or your hands to shred the meat. Meanwhile, increase the skillet to medium-high heat and reduce the sauce slightly.
  4. Return the shredded chicken to the sauce. Lower the heat again and stir the chicken into the sauce to coat. Heat until chicken is warm and has absorbed the flavors of the tinga sauce.
  5. Serve. For chicken tinga tacos, warm up corn or flour tortillas and spoon a little chicken tinga into each tortilla. Top with avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, cotija cheese, and pickled red onions. For chicken tinga tostadas, make your own tostadas by baking or frying corn tortillas until crispy. Top with refried beans or mashed black beans, chicken tinga, and crema, sour cream, or queso fresco.
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Homemade Chicken Tinga Recipe

Serves
4
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
50 min
Cook Time
35 min

Ingredients

  • 1 large white onion
  • 1–4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 corn tortillas

Optional toppings:

  • Avocado
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Cotija cheese
  • Pickled red onions
  1. Thinly slice a white onion and sauté in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, about 10–15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, roughly chop the chipotle chiles and add them to a blender or food processor with the adobo sauce from the can (use more sauce for more spice, less for a milder sauce), diced tomatoes, kosher salt, Mexican oregano, cumin, black pepper, minced garlic cloves, and chicken stock. Purée until smooth. Once the sliced onions have softened, add them to the sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer until flavors have melded.
  3. Add chicken breasts and simmer until cooked through and tender, about 25–35 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use a fork or your hands to shred the meat. Meanwhile, increase the skillet to medium-high heat and reduce the sauce slightly.
  5. Lower the heat again and stir the chicken into the sauce to coat. Heat until chicken is warm and has absorbed the flavors of the tinga sauce.
  6. For chicken tinga tacos, warm up tortillas and spoon a little chicken tinga in each tortilla. Top with avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, cotija cheese, and pickled red onions.

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