Chicken Tinga

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My family and I are taco and burrito fanatics; having some version nearly weekly.  Sometimes it simply ground beef with some spices while other times it may be slowly braised beef or carnitas.  This time it was shredded chicken for burritos.

Tinga refers to any kind of shredded meat simmered in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce.  It’s extremely easy to make and the heat level can be adjusted for whatever your tolerance.  The recipe below is middle of the road with enough kick to satisfy the heat seeker in your family while not blowing the roof off the wimp (sorry honey).  Enjoy!

I started by cutting removing the excess fat from 3 pounds of boneless chicken thighs then cutting them into 2 inch cubes.  I put them to a large pan and added enough water to cover.  I added 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and 3 bay leaves to the pan.

I brought it to a boil, then reduced the heat to medium low and covered it, letting it simmer for 25 minutes.  When it was done, I removed the meat with a slotted spoon and strained the broth.  After it cooled slightly, I poured off the fat and reserved 2 cups of the broth.

When the meat cooled, I roughly shredded it.

I broke 2 guajillo chiles in half and added them to a bowl then covered with hot water, letting them soak for 15 minutes until softened.  After they were soft, I removed the seeds and stems then placed them in my blender.  I removed the seeds from 3 canned chipotle peppers and put them in the blender as well along with 4 teaspoons of the adobo sauce from the can and 1/2 cup of the reserved broth then blended well.

I diced up 3 strips of bacon and cooked them in a large pan over medium heat until slightly crisp and the fat had rendered, then removed them with a slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain.  I poured off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan.

I diced up 1 1/2 medium onions and minced 3 garlic cloves.  I cooked the onionsover medium heat in the pan with the bacon fat for about 4 minutes then added the garlic and shredded chicken and cooked for about 4 more minutes to slightly brown.

To the meat I added a 28 ounce can (drained) of petite diced tomatoes, the blended chiles, cooked bacon and the remaining 1 1/2 cups reserved broth and let it simmer on low stirring periodically for about 25 minutes until most of the liquid was gone.  I seasoned with a good pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt.

And this was the final result.  My wife of course added a ton of sour cream.  Enjoy!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chicken Tinga
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chicken is simmered in a spicy, smoky tomato sauce. Perfect for tacos, burritos, tostadas or simply with rice and beans.
Serves: 8
  • 3 pounds boneless chicken thighs cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles (or New Mexico)
  • 3 canned chipotles in adobo
  • 4 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 2 cups reserved cooking broth (divided)
  • 3 strips thick bacon diced
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 1½ medium onions diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 28oz can petite diced tomatoes drained
  • pinch of sugar and kosher salt
  1. Place the cut thighs into a large pan and cover with water. Add the salt, oregano, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cover-cooking for 25 minutes. Remove the meat to a platter with a slotted spoon then strain the broth into a bowl. After the broth has cooled slightly remove the fat with a spoon or pour off. Reserve 2 cups of the broth. When the meat has cooled enough, roughly shred it with your fingers.
  2. Break the guajillo chiles in half and place them in a bowl then cover with hot water. Let them soak for 15 minutes until soft. When they're done, remove the stem and seeds and place in a blender. Remove the seeds from 3 canned chipotles and add them to the blender along with the 4 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can and ½ cup of the reserved broth. Blend well and set aside.
  3. In the same large pan cook the diced bacon over medioum heat until slighty crisp and the fat has rendered about 6 minutes. Remove the bacon with aslotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from the pan.
  4. Add the diced onion and cook over medium heat for about 4 miuntes then add the shredded chicken and minced garlic cooking for about 5 minutes until starting to brown. Add the blended chiles, canned diced tomatoes and remaining 1½ cups broth. Simmer over low heat for about 25 minutes, stirring periodically until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with a good pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt if needed.





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Chicken Tinga — 2 Comments

  1. These are so good! I am so glad I saw your recipe posted in because we’ve got carnitas covered (of course, one is your carnita’s recipe which my daughter loves) and was looking for chicken…specifically the shredded type. The last time I had them was my baby shower at work and that was almost 10 years ago lol. Well, I did make little changes such as using regular oregano and used New Mexico chile powder (sorry, it was a last minute decision and didn’t want to run to the store). For sure I will make it exactly next time. Also, I have cooked and shredded the chicken the night before because I knew I would have at least 30 minutes or less to cook lunch the next day. I think I will make that a routine. Thank you again…..

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