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Smoky Chicken Tinga Tacos

Smoky Chicken Tinga Tacos

Flavor-packed tacos feature smoky chicken thighs in a tomato and chili-based sauce. [Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

This smoky, spicy, and earthy chicken tinga takes less work than the flavor would lead you to believe—chipotles add most of the depth, while meaty chicken thighs, canned fire-roasted tomatoes, tomatillos, and onion add layers of flavor to the sauce.

Why this recipe works:

  • Browning chicken thighs first and then cooking them in the sauce produces a richer, more deeply flavored tinga.
  • Using canned fire-roasted tomatoes complements the smoky and earthy chipotles in adobo.
  • Adding a tomatillo to the dish creates a background tartness that further deepens the overall flavor.

Smoky Chicken Tinga Tacos

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About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 4-6
Active time:40 minutes
Total time:1 hour
Special equipment:Blender
This recipe appears in: Smoky Chicken Tinga Tacos
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 cup medium diced white onion
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 large tomatillo, husk removed, rinsed, and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • One (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped chipotles plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from one (7-ounce) can
  • 1/2 cup homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt
  •  
  • Warm corn tortillas, tomatillo salsa, onion, cilantro, grated cotija cheese, and llime wedges for serving

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chicken thighs skin-side down and cook until well browned, about 6 minutes. Flip thighs and continue to cook until other side is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving fat in pan, and set aside.

  2. 2

    Add onions and garlic to Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add tomatillo and cook until browned around the edges, about 4 minutes. Add oregano and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, chipotle, and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

  3. 3

    Transfer sauce to the jar of a blender and puree until smooth. Pour sauce back into pan, stir in chicken stock and bay leaf, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Nestle chicken thighs in sauce, reduce to a simmer, and cook until meat registers 165°F in thickest part of thigh on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer chicken to a plate and let sit until cool enough to handle. Remove sauce from heat and discard bay leaf.

  4. 4

    Pull chicken meat into strips, discarding skin, any large pieces of fat, and bones. Stir chicken into sauce and cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt to taste.

  5. 5

    Spoon chicken into warm tortillas and top with tomatillo salsa, onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese. Serve with lime wedges.

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