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Homage to the Taco Chronicles – The Series – Tacos con Tinga de Pollo

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    Homage to the Taco Chronicles – The Series – Tacos con Tinga de Pollo

    Homage to the Taco Chronicles – The Series – Tacos con Tinga de Pollo

    Mi primera esposa was a Tex-Mex woman who indoctrinated me into the culture and la familia of Tex-Mex life. Some of it was interesting, some I’m glad I don’t have to deal with any longer, but the food, oh the food was and still is wonderful. There are little hole in the wall eateries on the Northside of Houston that I would have never known about had it not been for her. Some of the best Hispanic food can be found in those places and attempting to re-create those dishes has remained a passion of mine.

    One thing that all Tex-Mex madres teach their daughters is how to cook the basics which include tortilla making, caldos, mole, tamales and a variety of stews. One of the most popular of all those stews is Tinga de Pollo, or Chicken Tinga. It’s easy to make, relatively inexpensive, as well as very versatile. Made almost soup like it can be simply ladled over rice. A little thicker and it’s great smothered with cheese on a tostada. Or of course made into, what I present here, a ubiquitous taco.

    Chicken Tinga is a simple and distinctly tasty shredded chicken dish. What makes it so unique is its sauce; a combination of tomato, onion, and chipotles in adobo (those little cans you buy in any grocery store). The recipe I’m presenting though, amps’ things up a bit. First the chicken. Traditionally the chicken parts (usually breasts) are boiled along with the veggies and then shred. The chicken is then combined with the sauce made from those veggies and the subsequent boiled liquid. In keeping with barbecue traditions, I’m going to grill my chicken instead. I’m also using skinless thighs for more flavor, a bit of seasoning for added depth then grilling them on my Weber using a Vortex.

    For the veggies I’m going to char rather than boil them before blending. In place of using water in the sauce, I’m going to use a chicken stock for further flavor amplification. Instead of just relying on the chipotles and adobo sauce, I’m also going to hydrate and add some dried guajillo peppers. One final spicy kick will be to add what many Tex-Mex cooks include, some chorizo sausage to the final mix.

    So come along with me on this journey from its origins in Puebla Mexico, to the la familia tradition taught to my first Tex-Mex wife and finally to my kitchen to make some Tinga de Pollo Tacos.

    Chicken Tinga Tacos

    Course. Lunch or Dinner.
    Cuisine. Traditional Mexican
    Makes. 4 to 6 servings
    Takes. 60 minutes prep, 90 minutes total cooking time

    Ingredients – Meat & Sauce

    3 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs or breasts (choice)
    6-8 ounces chorizo sausage
    4 plum tomatoes cut in half
    1-1/2 large white onions
    3 cloves garlic
    3 dried guajillo peppers
    2 canned chipotle peppers with the adobo sauce
    2 cups low sodium chicken stock
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or more to taste)
    2 bay leaves
    Grilling seasoning for chicken to taste

    Ingredients – Suggestions for Taco Presentation

    10-12 – corn OR classic flour tortillas
    Mexican white cheese (Queso fresco)
    Pico de Gallo (optional: add mango or pineapple chunks)
    Guacamole or avocado slices
    Sour Cream
    Lime wedges
    Salsa or hot sauce of choice

    1. Season the chicken and allow to come up to room temperature. Fire up your grill with a Vortex accessory (or 2 zone cooking as an option). Open all vents to allow maximum airflow through the Vortex. Place your chicken on the grill and cook until the internal temperature hits 150-155*F with a light char. Do not overcook or dry out. Final cooking will occur later.
    2. Allow to cool after grilling, then shred the cooked chicken. Place in a bowl, cover and set aside.
    3. Over an open flame or on your hot grill, place your tomatoes, 1/2 of an onion and the garlic cloves. Heat and char all sides turning frequently until a nice light char develops. Add all the charred veggies to a blender.
    4. Meanwhile, clean and de-seed the guajillo chilies. In a saucepan gently heat some water and re-hydrate the guajilloes for about 20 minutes. Add the guajilloes and the canned chipotles with adobo sauce to the blender.
    5. Add the chicken stock to the contents of the blender along with the black pepper, salt, oregano, cumin and bay leaves. Blend on high until smooth. Once blended strain the contents to remove any large chunks or pieces. The resultant sauce should be silky smooth.
    6. Add the blended sauce to a pan and simmer on low. You should have about 32 ounces, if not add some water to make up the difference. Continue simmering while you go to the next step.
    7. In a large skillet remove the chorizo from its casing and sauté on medium low heat for about 8-10 minutes to render and darken. Stir frequently.
    8. Cut your remaining whole onion into slices and add to the chorizo in the skillet. Cook the onions until they are caramelized. If need be cover the skillet to avoid burning the chorizo/onion mix.
    9. Once the onions have softened, pour your simmered sauce into the skillet and stir to incorporate. Continue on medium low heat.
    10. Next add your shredded chicken. Again stir and blend until the chicken has been fully coated with the sauce. Continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes, stirring periodically. Check for salt content and add if needed.
    11. If you find that the sauce is a bit too thin and runny, continue to cook down until it thickens. We want this to hold up in a tortilla without making it too soggy.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	tinga 05.jpg Views:	57 Size:	1.09 MB ID:	1077686

    The chicken is now ready. Warm some tortillas and build your tacos with the condiments of your choice and enjoy some fantastic Chicken Tinga Tacos!!

    Click image for larger version  Name:	tinga 01.jpg Views:	53 Size:	7.56 MB ID:	1077687Click image for larger version  Name:	tinga 02.jpg Views:	52 Size:	8.50 MB ID:	1077688Click image for larger version  Name:	tinga 03.jpg Views:	60 Size:	8.88 MB ID:	1077690Click image for larger version  Name:	tinga 04.jpg Views:	53 Size:	8.72 MB ID:	1077689

    Thanks again for taking the time to continue reading my series. I hope those who have never had real Mexican tacos will take the time to cook some for friends and family.

    For those interested in following or have missed any of my Taco Chronicles series, here are links to previous offerings;

    Tacos de Guisado
    Tacos al Pescado
    Tacos de Chivo Birria
    Tacos al Pastor
    Tacos al Carbon
    Tacos de Barbacoa de Res

    Tacos de Cochinita Pibil

    Next up is something we can all identify with, Brisket Tacos!! But these will not be your ordinary slap some meat on a tortilla type. You don’t want to miss what I have in store for you. Until then, as always, Trout is Out !!

    "This is what defines Mexico….a Good Taco"

    Last edited by Troutman; August 16, 2021, 08:18 AM.

    One more time right outta the park. Thanks.


      Looks delicious. Gettin me a hankerin for some tacos.


        I ate some soft tacos today. Leftovers from a shindig last night. Seasoned chicken, cilantro and Spanish rice.


          I think you should open a taco stand when you retire. I mean, isn't that everyone's dream to open and run a restaurant in their golden years? Call it El Hombré de la Trucha Tacqueria (yeah, I had to Google the heck out of that one!)


          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            Only problem is retirement and work are mutually exclusive terms. No bueno

          • CaptainMike
            CaptainMike commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah, you know I was poking fun. I tried that workin' after retirement for a bit until I caught myself wondering just what the f I was thinking. I can now say that I have not failed at retirement since then! The only thing that could lure me out now is a lotta money for little work, but the phone ain't ringing off the hook for that !

          Nice recipe. I'm adding it to Paprika now. Thanks!



            Another fantastic job thar! Also adding it to Paprika.


              Troutman or anyone else who has made this. I'm in the middle of this now (have scaled the recipe up by 1/2) and have just strained the stuff from the blender. I know the recipe says that the result should be "silky smooth" and that one strains to remove any large chunks. My question is, should I wind up with a thin liquid and a mess of stuff that kind of has the consistency of oatmeal which doesn't get used in this recipe, or should I be looking for something closer to a tomato soup texture after straining. I have a really good food processor so I definitely didn't have any large chunks even before straining so I'm a little confused as to what I should wind up with here.


                pkadare The straining is to eliminate any chunks of pepper or other solids. Yes you’ll end up here it’s a smooth liquid (I’d say a little thinner than tomato soup) and a strainer with a little sludge you dispose of. This may not be necessary if you’re happy with the results out of the blender. I wouldn’t stress over it too much, it sounds like you’re on the right track. Good luck, looking forward to seeing the results 👍


                • pkadare
                  pkadare commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thank you sir!

                Wow, great write up! Thank you for sharing this with us.

                They look amazing. I love the sear over the direct fire for some killer flavor kick. And then a simmer in some sauce? Ugh, I can't take it anymore.



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