Chicken Tinga Tacos – Mexican Street Food at Home
For a girl who loves tacos and Mexican food as much as I do, you’d think all this week I’d be having a Cinco de Mayo party on the blog. I have no idea how I missed this Mexican holiday. Is anyone else shocked by how fast May snuck up on us??!! In my own defense, I do have a lot of taco recipes on the blog and I’ve linked a few options for you at the bottom of the post. But this post is all about Chicken Tinga Tacos.
This spicy taco filling is found at every street-food stand in Mexico City. The sauce is like a Mexican marinara, filled with a lot of the same things you would use in an Italian marinara sauce – onion, garlic, tomatoes – but with the addition of chipotle peppers in adobo takes these tacos right to fiesta time.
You won’t believe how easy it is to get such an authentic (and cheap!) meal at home. By using chicken thighs, you’re going to be getting a lot of flavor and this cut of meat is impossible to over cook. Chicken first needs to seared and browned in a skillet, just for 10 minutes and then put aside. Then you’ll make the tinga sauce and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken in a large casserole dish and bake. (Or if you want to cook at a later date, store in the fridge, all ready for the oven. Just be sure to remove the casserole dish from the fridge 15 minutes before you’re ready to bake the chicken.)
Garnish for these Chicken Tinga Tacos are super easy. No fancy salsas or lots of chopping of ingredients. All you need are some green onions, cilantro and crumbled Cotija cheese. So easy!
I’ve made and eaten a lot of tacos in my day.. heck, try just this year! Tacos are one of my favorite food groups. These Chicken Tinga Tacos are spicy and smokey. The chicken was tender and shredded so easily. I loved the easiness and freshness of the taco garnish. These tacos really are no fuss and truly something you would get in Mexico. It’s nice to know I can make these Chicken Tinga Tacos at home and not have to wait until my next Mexico vacation.
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 pounds trimmed, skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, including liquid
- 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 24 corn tortillas
- 2 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled
- Sliced scallions and chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and pour off the fat in the skillet.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet & the onion. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, chipotle peppers and broth; bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and slightly reduced, 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Transfer sauce to a food processor and let cool for 15 minutes. Puree until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Bake the chicken uncovered in the center of the oven for about 45-55 minutes. The meat should be tender, sauce thickened and browning around the edges of the baking dish. Warm corn tortillas in the oven or over a gas stove.
- Remove the chicken and shred meat; discard the bones. Return the chicken meat to the sauce; combine well. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of chicken onto each tortilla and sprinkle with the Cotija cheese. Garnish tacos with the scallions and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.
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