Make Ahead

Tinga Chicken

July 25, 2011
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

After tasting Tinga Chicken at Cover 3 here in Austin, I searched for the origin and recipe, but every recipe I found called for cooked chicken and a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. My version is stewed chicken in a smoky, spicy sauce, so good "it'll just tear your lips off"! - nannydeb —nannydeb

Test Kitchen Notes

Tinga Chicken, where have you been all my life? Not only is this recipe a cinch to make, there's a bonus in the layers of flavors here that develop overnight, making nannydeb's version of a classic even tastier the next day. We served it over warm handmade corn tortillas the first night and the next day it made for an awesome tostada. Whichever way you go, you'll be happy! —TiggyBee

What You'll Need
  • 4 dried chipotle peppers
  • 2 dried ancho peppers
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces with skin and fat removed (as much as possible)
  • 3 to 4 fresh jalapeño peppers, cut in half
  • 4 whole cloves garlic
  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • Water to cover
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Your choice of crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco, sliced avocado, chopped tomato and cilantro, refried beans, and tortillas or chalupas, for serving
  1. Working with any type of peppers, you may want to wear rubber gloves when handling them or at least wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
  2. In a dry skillet, heat the dried peppers for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove seeds and stems.
  3. In a large pot, combine the chicken parts, all peppers, garlic, onion, tomato, bay leaves, oregano, cumin, and allspice. Add enough water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.
  4. Set the pot aside to cool, then remove the chicken to a plate. Debone the chicken and shred it using a fork in each hand.
  5. Remove the bay leaves. Scoop the vegetables into a blender with a slotted spoon and blend to make your sauce, adding as much of the cooking liquid as you need to get a thick, saucy consistency. Alternately, if what's left in the pot doesn't look too watery, you can use an immersion blender directly in the pot. Add the cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the chicken back to the pot with the sauce and heat it back up over medium heat. It's ready!
  7. Serving suggestion: Spread refried beans onto a chalupa. Add Tinga Chicken and top with crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco, sliced avocado, and chopped tomato and cilantro.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Doctor X
    Doctor X
  • aargersi
  • aniabot
  • lorigoldsby
  • nannydeb

Recipe by: nannydeb

Former restaurant manager (and waitress, bartender, etc). I love food: eating, trying new recipes, shopping for it, talking/emailing about it, etc. My foodie friend and pen pal got me interested in recipe contests and also turned me on to food52 and now I'm obsessed!

19 Reviews

Marilynn March 10, 2021
Authentic, delicious. Spiced perfectly. Liked the complexity/depth of the flavors. Really great second day.
Doctor X. October 14, 2018
Outstanding, we have made this several times and it never disappoints. With that said I/we typically add both extra chipotle and ancho chilis, don't be shy when it comes to flavor.
aargersi July 16, 2017
My niece and I made this last night - SO delicious, and comes together in a snap. It was a test run, now we will be making and freezing 8 batches for her upcoming wedding reception / taco bar!!!
daisy December 23, 2014
the real recipe calls for that can of Chipotle Chiles con adobo.. but this is a good spin off
aniabot October 19, 2014
this is currently brewing on my stove. i only had whole allspice, so i threw in a couple of those + some cinnamon bark to make up for it. smells fab!
SallyM October 9, 2014
Could this be done in a slow cooker?
GSmodden August 13, 2011
This turned out really great. Thanks for this recipe.
lorigoldsby July 28, 2011
love chicken tinga! looks so good I can almost smell it!
marley16 July 28, 2011
it IS delicious!
AnnP July 26, 2011
Loved this dish! We added a carrot/red onion/cilantro/lime juice slaw on top. We thought it would be quite spicy with all the peppers but the flavors were quite mellow. We will add this to our regulars.
nannydeb July 25, 2011
Ah, you are all too kind and invited over for leftovers! I'm sure it's even better today!
SKK July 25, 2011
wssmom July 25, 2011
Am so craving this with queso fresco, chopped tomato and a blast of cilantro ....
gingerroot July 27, 2011
I hear you, wssmom (plus some avocado and warm tortillas)...YUM! This sounds amazing, nannydeb!
aargersi July 29, 2011
and a cold beer! I want some too please!
inpatskitchen July 25, 2011
I like this one! Yum!!!!
sexyLAMBCHOPx July 25, 2011
Looks delicious and sinus cleansing! : )
arielleclementine July 25, 2011
fantastic! that chalupa sounds amazing!
aargersi July 25, 2011
This sounds absolutely delicious!