Quick and Easy

Tinga de Pollo

by:
March 27, 2021
12 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
Author Notes

This recipe is reprinted with permission from "Tu Casa Mi Casa: Mexican Recipes For The Home Cook" by Enrique Olvera with Luis Arellano, Gonzalo Goût, Daniela Soto-Innes: "The first recipe any Mexican will cook as soon as they move out of their parents’ home and live on their own is chicken tinga. It is easy, reminds everyone of home, and the ingredients are very accessible. Although it is better made with dried chipotle chiles, canned chipotles work if in a pinch. It can be a soupy stew served over white rice and with tortillas. If you cook it down to thicken a bit more, it is a great topping on a tostada with fresh shredded lettuce, some crema, cheese, and fresh salsa." —Food52

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound (455 grams) skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 2 large white onions, 1 halved and 1 sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, 3 whole and 3 sliced
  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 dried or canned chipotle chiles, chopped to a paste
  • 9 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a medium pot, combine the chicken, onion halves, whole garlic cloves, and 1 tablespoon of the salt. Add water to cover and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, 30–40 minutes, skimming occasionally to remove impurities. Remove the chicken from the broth and let rest until it is cool enough to handle. Using your hands, pull or shred the chicken and reserve. Strain and reserve the broth as well.
  2. In a medium to large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved shredded chicken, the chipotle chiles, tomatoes, and 1 cup (240 ml/8 fl oz) of the chicken broth (reserve the rest for other preparations). Cook until the tomato breaks down and changes to a brick color, 5–10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Add some more cooking broth if necessary; it should be a bit soupy. Serve hot or let cool and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month in an airtight container.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Smaug
    Smaug
  • Ella Quittner
    Ella Quittner
  • Jessamin
    Jessamin
  • bmorecharmer
    bmorecharmer
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11 Reviews

Jessamin November 9, 2020
I have never been a fan of tinga but this recipe converted me. Tinga is too often bland and just tastes like tomato, but this was so flavorful! The liquid the chicken simmers in is gold. No one ingredient overpowers the dish, rather everything is harmonious. For people saying that theirs was too souply or not as smooth as the photo, just rough chop the tomato into smaller pieces and let it simmer long enough that most of the liquid cooks down. 10/10!
 
bmorecharmer September 21, 2019
Delicious! I made jalapeno rice in the rice cooker and put this over top. It was spicy but so good. I'm wondering if this can be made in a crock pot, any thoughts?
 
bmorecharmer July 8, 2020
UTA: I made it in a crock pot and it's better the way the recipe tells you to make it.
 
Bebe L. May 13, 2019
I made this recipe with canned chipotles and thought the flavor was very good - boyfriend said it was a beautiful dish and was looking forward to (me) making it again. My sauce came out soupy and a little lighter than other Tingas I’ve had but it was still good.
 
Selin May 8, 2019
We made this last night. The directions are a little vague: we chopped the dried chipotle peppers (which was not easy!), and the dish ended up being way too spicy (and we love spicy food!). Were we just supposed to chop the peppers if they were canned and leave the dry ones whole?
 
Smaug May 8, 2019
Congrats on getting anywhere with the peppers at all- for your next feat, try dried turmeric in a mortar and pestle. The coward's way out would have been to soak them first, or use a blender/spice grinder.
 
KennE May 13, 2019
I usually tear the dried peppers into chunks and add a small amount of really hot water in a blender and blend. Works well. We used to have to soak the dried peppers until they were pliable and then scrape the inside of the peppers and toss the skins. A real pain in the butt.
 
Smaug May 13, 2019
I do something similar with most dried peppers, though I do give them some soaking time in the blender- this works well because if the peppers don't submerge completely a second of blending will get them submerged- Not sure how important the soak is in that case; the procedure for handling dried peppers seems tied to pre-blender days, pureeing them with a metate is not so simple. Never heard of anyone scraping them out of the skin, but it is traditional to sieve the puree to remove large pieces of skin; a step I generally skip with the blender. The dried chipotles I've encountered are extremely tough, though tearing them apart by hand would take some doing.
 
Goss May 8, 2019
Hmm, if we brown the tomatoes and Chipotle, add chicken stock from the freezer and chicken, it might be possible to one pan this in a pressure cooker/instant pot... Might try both methods and get back to you XD
 
Christina May 4, 2019
I’m not sure that the meal posted at the top of the page was cooked using this recipe. I followed the recipe to a t, and unless you’re using a blender, there’s no way your sauce is getting as smooth as it looks in the image. It’s also nowhere near the color in the image. I poach a lot of chicken, and 1 pound of chicken poaches in no more than 10 minutes. I combined everything to stew for 5-10 minutes, and when I was looking at the tomatoes, I knew there was no way they were going to break down to a consistency that would look like the image. So...I picked all of the chicken out, puréed the tomatoes, peppers and onions in two batches in my blender, and am now simmering for a long time. I decided to blend after reading other Tinga de Pollo recipes. Anyway, I suggest doing some research outside this recipe if what you’re going for is a meal that looks like the image up top.
 
Ella Q. May 5, 2019
Hi Christina,

I'm so sorry the recipe didn't work out for you! I've made it several times and haven't had any issues, though I would say that ripeness of tomatoes has played a factor in how long they take to break down (I've never had to use a blender). That said, the texture has never been a thick stew like you're describing—it's more of a brothy, thinner soup with chicken and tomato and onion, etc, in it. I hope this helps!

Ella