Smoky Chicken Tinga with Avocado & Fresh Cheese

This slow-cooked chicken tinga is easy to make and tastes like you have slaved away in the kitchen all day. All you have to do is combine the ingredients and the slow-cooker does all of the work. The resulting dish is unbelievably tender and flavorful. We made this 2 years ago for New Years dinner and it was a big hit. If you want to listen to some great Latin music while you cook, tune into KHUM radio from Humboldt County California. They have a great global grooves hour on Wednesday nights.  (6-8 p.m. Pacific time)  You can stream online here. Grab yourself a beer, listen to some great music, and get cooking!

Smoky Chicken Tinga with Avocado & Fresh Cheese
adapted from: Mexican Everyday
serves: 8

1 lb (about 4 medium) Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1” pieces
one 28 oz can fired-roasted & diced tomatoes

4 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and sliced ¼” thick
1 tablespoon of the chipotle canning sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried Oregano (Mexican Oregano if you have it)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium white onion, sliced ¼” thick (optional- but they are so good in here)
salt
4 oz fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed (optional)


toppings:
tortillas for tacos or tortilla chips for a pile-on
crumbled Mexican queso fresco, (recommended: Cotija cheese)
sliced avocado
pinto beans or black beans (warmed and salted)

Place the potatoes at the bottom of a slow-cooker* and top with the chicken pieces.  In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes & tomato juice with the chipotles, chipotle canning sauce, Worcestershire, oregano, garlic, optional onion and 1 ½ tsp salt. Pour the mixture evenly over the chicken and potatoes. Cover and slow-cook on high for 6 hours. (The dish can hold on the slow-cooker’s “keep warm” function for 4 more hours or so.)


When you are ready to eat, fry the optional chorizo in a medium skillet until thoroughly done, about 4 minutes. Uncover the chicken tinga and stir in the chorizo. (Or serve separately) Stir until the chicken has broken into smaller pieces. (If there is a lot of liquid, tip it off and boil it rapidly until reduced & syrupy, then stir it back into the meat mixture.) Taste and season with additional salt if you think it’s necessary. Serve with crumbled Cotija cheese and sliced avocado.

* If you don’t have a slow-cooker- Lay the chicken in a medium-large Dutch oven, and top with the potatoes. Cover with the tomato mixture, set the lid in place and braise in a 300° oven for 2 to 2 ½ hours, until the chicken is completely tender.

* You can also substitute 2 lbs of boneless pork shoulder, or an equivalent amount of cubed boneless beef chuck. (skip the optional chorizo with the beef.)

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