This chicken tinga recipe is a variation from Chef Rick Bayless, who is my go-to for Mexican cuisine (sopa de lima, anyone?) because he shares really easy but awesome Mexican recipes and he seems like he’d be the nicest guy ever.
Chicken tinga originated in Puebla, Mexico. Puebla, like Oaxaca, is one of the mecca’s for Mexican cuisine. Mexican food is diverse, reflecting its geography and history so food in the Yucatan on the east coast is very different than food in the west coast.
In Puebla, Poblano food is an expression of indigenous cuisine affected by the Spanish settlement, specifically Spanish nuns. Some of Puebla’s most famous dishes, including mole poblano and chiles en nogada were created in a convent.
The traditional chicken tinga recipe is shredded chicken in a tomato chipotle sauce cooked in a clay pot. It’s basically a stew which makes it extremely versatile, so while it’s usually served on a tostada (fried tortilla) it also makes for a great taco filling.
Muir Glen is a well-established brand in the US but has just launched in Canada. They asked me to try their product and offer a contest for readers – details at the end of the post!
So Muir Glen tomatoes are field grown and vine ripened under certified organic practices which means no synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers. But really when it comes down to it the taste has to be good.
For this recipe I used the Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, which are more expensive than regular diced tomatoes at the grocery store but opening up the can you can actually see charred bits of tomato and straight from the can the tomatoes taste great, which isn’t always the case – especially for no-name tomatoes.
I really liked the charred flavour and think it would be great in pasta dishes like spaghetti puttanesca as it gives the tomato a nice depth of flavour. It was a great addition to this recipe to complement the smoky adobo peppers.
Chicken Tinga Substitutions
While we have access to many Mexican ingredients in Toronto I know that’s not the case from coast to coast but this recipe is easily adaptable. It won’t be as authentic but it can still taste great.
Queso fresco, which literally means fresh cheese is amazing but can be difficult and/or expensive to get in some towns so look for feta that isn’t too salty.
We love corn tortillas, they have such a different flavour from flour tortillas. If you can get them buy a pack and freeze the remainder but if you can’t find corn tortillas go with flour.
If you don’t have a dutch oven a casserole dish will do, or try it in the slow cooker.
In the comments below share your favourite dish to impress friends and family when they come over. One of my go-to recipes is butternut squash lasagna with a salad because I can make it in advance and enjoy my guests rather than being a slave to the kitchen.