Two years ago, if you asked me about chicken tinga, I’d have a blank stare. For whatever reason, this tinga thing is all the rage right now, and I’m in it to win it with this easy recipe which involves roasting chicken thighs, then braising them in sauce for 20 minutes.
So, what is chicken tinga anyway?
As far as I can tell, it’s a saucy tomato and chili shredded chicken scenario where you’ve got some oregano and cumin adding an earthy dimension. I use a chipotle pepper in this recipe because I like the spicy, smoky combination with the chicken. What I love about this recipe is that it’s so darn easy and oh, soooo tasty.
You roast chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) in an enameled Dutch oven, shred and return it with a homemade sauce for some ultra juicy meat. When the chicken is in the oven for round #2, I like to prepare the taco fix-ins. This is your time to shine because you can dress those tacos up however you want.
How to Make Chicken Tinga Tacos
This recipe comes together in 4 short steps, and the sauce is really simple to make.
Roast the chicken thighs.
Start by roasting the chicken thighs because this step takes the longest but requires virtually no effort.
You can see that I took the temperature after 40 minutes (140 ° F). This is technically under-cooked, but that’s ok because you will be cooking the chicken more in step 2.
Shred the chicken and braise in tomato-chipotle sauce.
It’s important to let the chicken cool off before you try to shred it. This is so you don’t burn your fingers and to keep the chicken tender and juicy.
Braising reduces the sauce and concentrates the flavors further, which is why I like to do this step for at least 20 minutes to give the chicken time to take on some of the smoky and acidic flavors.
Soften corn tortillas and chop the fix-ins
For the tacos, you can use your favorite filling. I like chopped fresh cilantro, green onion, and sour cream. Many people are unsure how to soften corn tortillas, so I want to talk about this.
For a pliable fold, it’s best to warm a skillet with a bit of oil over medium heat. Then you cook the tortilla for 20 seconds on each side, flipping up to 4 times until it’s really soft looking. If it looks dry, add more oil to the skillet. If it cracks when it folds, it’s either dry or you may have cooked it too long. Try lowering the heat and flipping with tongs. I sometimes literally count to 20.
More Recipes You Might Like
These ricotta cheese flans are to die for and would make for one show-stopping dessert. I also love something bubbly with tacos, so if that’s not a beer for you, these natural mint and lime sodas are amazing. I make them using carbonated water (easy to do if you have a soda stream) and some fresh mint.
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Easy Chicken Tinga Tacos
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 chicken thighs boneless and skinless
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ cup canned crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- corn tortillas, cilantro, green onion, sour cream
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400℉.
- Set the chicken thighs inside a Dutch oven or on a baking sheet and coat the chicken with oil. Salt both sides and roast for 40 minutes. It's ok if it's not fully cooked at this stage (you will be cooking it more).
- Allow the chicken to cool, then use your hands to tear it into very thin strips. Add the garlic, chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, tomatoes, and chicken stock to a Dutch oven or casserole dish. Stir and braise in the oven for 20 minutes (uncovered).
- Use a skillet over medium heat coated with oil to soften the tortillas, about 20 seconds per side. Stuff the chicken inside the tortillas and top with chopped cilantro, sliced green onion, and sour cream, if desired.
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