Classic Mexican Chicken Tinga is a slow cooked chicken dish made with tomatoes and chipotle chillies. This particular recipe has the addition of dried Ancho and Cascabel Chillies too. I love layering different chilli flavours and if you want a ticket to the most heavenly tasting shredded chicken, then keep on reading.
The first time I made this and stirred in the blitzed up dried chillies, I knew it was going to be amazing. There are all sorts of different subtle flavours to this dish and a warming heat that won't blow anyone's head off. That's the beauty of many of the Mexican dried chillies, they are not all about untamed fire, they add complexity to many dishes that's hard to achieve in any other way.
Whilst there is a little bit of fuss needed to get this dish ready and an hour or so of cooking, you can let the pot blip away on your stove whilst you get on with other things.
We served our tacos with some quick pickled red onions (see below), chopped coriander, lime wedges and some crumbled feta (pretty close to Mexican cheese). It's also nice to have some warm pinto beans as a side dish.
1kg Chicken Thighs, skinless and boneless
2 x Whole Cascabel Chillies, seeds removed and ripped up
2 x Whole Ancho Chillies, seeds removed and ripped up
5tbsps Chipotle Chilli Paste
2 x White Onions, finely diced
8 x Cloves of Garlic, crushed and chopped
1tsp Cumin Seeds
1tsp Ground Allspice
1tsp Dried Oregano
2 x Cloves, crushed
1 x Cinnamon Stick
1 x 400g Tomato Polpa
250ml Chicken Stock
2tsp Sea Salt
3-4tbsps Fussels Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil
You will also need:
1 x Pack Komali Taquera Tortillas (Corn Tacos)
1 x Red Onion
Bunch of Fresh Coriander
Small Pack of Feta Cheese
1. Heat a large pan with a lid or a heavy casserole pot, toast the dried chillies for a minute or two to get the flavours working. Remove to a small bowl and cover with boiling water, leave for around 15 minutes or until they are soft.
2. Season the chicken thighs with salt. In the same pan, heat some oil and fry the chicken thighs (whole) until they are browned on both sides. You may have to do this in 2 or 3 batches. Once they are nicely coloured, remove them from the pan and set them to one side.
3. Add a couple more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add in the diced onions. Gentle fry for around 10 minutes, until they are really soft and slightly golden. Then add in the chopped garlic, cumin seeds, crushed cloves, ground allspice and cinnamon stick. Keep cooking for a further 2 minutes.
4. Add the chicken and any resting juices back into the pan and stir in the chipotle paste.
5. Pour in the can of tomatoes and the chicken stock and mix through.
6. The dried chillies should be nice and soft now, remove them from their soaking liquid and blitz them to a paste in a food processor, adding a little soaking liquid to form a smooth paste. The add this to the chicken.
7. Put a lid on a gently cook for around an hour. You may need to remove the lid in the last 15 minutes to reduce the cooking liquid.
8. Once the chicken thighs are nice and tender, using two forks, roughly shred them up, mixing the cooking sauce through at the same time.
9. You're now ready to fill your tacos with the most heavenly tasting chicken.
Cook the tacos in a dry pan for 30 seconds on each side, pile on some Chicken Tinga and top with onions, coriander, feta and squeeze over some lime juice. One taco will definitely not be enough, three or four is probably more like it.
Pickled Red Onions
1 x Red Onion, thinly sliced
Juice of 1½ Limes
Pinch of Salt
1. Slice the red onions as thinly as possible, squeeze over the lime juice and add a pinch of salt. Mix and leave for around half an hour.
Enjoy! And foodies, don't forget to tag us on instagram (somerset.foodie) or facebook (SomersetFoodie) if you make this at home.
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I keep reaching for our delicious Pickled Lemon Paste. It's intense lemon flavour provides a great lift to so many dishes whether it's a stew, sauce, dressing or marinade. This little salad is really quick and simple to prepare. The liquorice flavour of fennel is perfectly suited to carrying strong flavours...
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