Tinga de Pollo

Until 6 years ago, I had never heard of Tinga; we are talking about is Shredded Chicken Tacos. While today’s recipe has a definite place in my kitchen, pork remains King of Tinga. If you have 4-1/2 hours then I recommend making this Pork Tinga with homemade Chorizo. But if you want dinner ready in an hour, this recipe is a great, healthier alternative. The recipe boost flavor using a few techniques: Use one pot to add flavor, stretch out cooking time to deepen the flavors; browning the meat, browning the onions, and cooking the chicken until it reached 195 degrees, which makes the chicken very shreddable. The chipotle in adobo sauce adds great smokiness without firing up the barbecue. 4-1/2 stars.

Delicious tacos ready in 1 hour

Delicious tacos ready in 1 hour


  1. When in Mexico, tacos are always served with the corn tortillas doubled up. If you forget and serve these tacos in a single tortilla, you will quickly be reminded by the disintegrating tortilla to make your next taco using two tortillas.
  2. I can never find Cotija cheese, so I follow Cook’s Illustrated advice and substitute with crumbled feta.
  3. The shredded chicken mixture also makes a good topping for tostadas.
  4. In addition to the Mexican-Style Pickled Vegetables (Escabèche) and the toppings included here,

Rating: 4-1/2 star.
Cost: $11.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time: 5:00PM. Dinner time: 6:00 PM.

Cook’s Illustrated original recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

Chicken Ingredients:
2-lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14.5-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons juice

Taco Ingredients:
12(6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
1 avocado
2-oz crumbled Cotija cheese (about 1/2 cup)
6 scallions
minced fresh cilantro
Lime wedges
Other optional toppings: Mexican crema (or sour cream), and minced onion.

  1. Pat chicken thighs dry using paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to a large Dutch oven, and set over medium-high burner. Pre-heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Brown half the chicken; 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove browned chicken to a large plate. Repeat the browning process with rest of the chicken (no need to add more oil).
  2. Meanwhile, cut onion in half and slice thin. Peel 3 garlic cloves.
  3. Turn down burner to medium, pre-heat 1 more tablespoon vegetable oil until shimmering. Add onion slices and cook for 5 minutes until browned; stir often.
  4. Add garlic, cumin, and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add can of diced tomatoes, chicken broth, chipotle and adobo sauce, and sugar and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits.
  6. Return the partially-cooked chicken to pot, reduce burner to medium-low. Cover, and allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 195 degrees; flip chicken after 5 minutes. Remove chicken to cutting board
  7. Empty the cooking liquid into a blender and process until for 15 to 30 seconds until smooth, returning sauce to the pot.
  8. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, use two forks to shred chicken into bite sized pieces. Return shredded chicken to pot with sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened and clings to chicken, about 10 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, warm your tortillas and prepare the avocado by cutting in half, discarding the pit, and dicing into 1/2-inch pieces. Mince scallions and cilantro as garnish.
  10. After 10 minutes add lime zest and juice to pot, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Prepare the tacos by spooning chicken into center of a warm tortilla, adding diced avocado, Cotija, scallions, cilantro, and squeezing lime wedges as desired.

4 Responses to Tinga de Pollo

  1. Jonny Rashid says:

    I loved this recipe too. A bit spicier than Cook’s Illustrated in the CPK era huh?

  2. I made this recipe. It was absolutely awesome and will be my standard for chicken tacos from now on.

    My one mistake was shredding the chicken too finely so the result was a little gloppy. Next time I’ll use a fork but also use my fingers to tear off some bigger chunks.

    My change was to add maybe 3 times as much chipotle as the recipe called for, which was too spicy hot the day I made it but calmed down to a pleasant heat after it sat in the fridge for a couple of days. That works for me since I make my meals on the weekend for warming up later in the week.

  3. I’ve made this a couple of times, and to appease my family who complain when dishes are too spicy, I don’t chop the chilies in adobo. I just throw a couple of whole ones into the pot. That way, before pureeing the sauce, I can just remove the whole chilies. Then I puree and taste, and can always add the whole chille into the blender if it needs it.

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