Picture it. Los Angeles, 2023. There I was, sitting under the palm, midday, thinking about a nice siesta when inspiration hit like a large avocado to the cabeza. Inspiration came in the form of damned roosters cockadoodling next door at the other roosters down the road, “Who’s the bigger cock in this hood?” Tinga. Chicken Tinga. Dinner will be a satisfying victory. The smell of simmering chicken, bright ripe tomatoes, chipotle peppers make its way out of the window, travelling over the fence. The scent of familial murder washes over the roosters, an invisible waterfall of sweet, delicious death. Chicken, you may not meet Death today, but your brethren did not have the same fortune. Today, we feast!
As a Caucasian woman (shhh… don’t tell anyone), who grew up in a household that made good food, but nothing spectacular. Leaving the nest, I taught myself how to add flavor and purpose to my meals. Dating a chef, I watched, studied, learned. Marrying a Mexican man, I had to be sure my food was flavorful, and mostly made by scratch. Don’t get me wrong, I still make my very yummy white trash/stoner food, and he loves most of it. But, I needed to step my game up, because ain’t no one coming into my house and besting me in any game! And if you have read my past articles, you can get a sense of how things go down over here.
To prove I can be a “good” Mexican wife, I had to pick a recipe that I could easily execute. The first time I made chicken tinga, it was meh. I didn’t have the right ingredients, so I winged it. It was edible, but it wasn’t right. The second time I made tinga, it made us feel like flying through the clouds. It was near perfect. Made the husband feel like he was home with tias and abuelitas working hard in the kitchen, preparing meals, and clucking away like hens. Every time I make this meal, I get better and better at the process, adding my own flair and secrets to the recipe, making it my own. Making it my Mexican Adjacent Chicken Tinga.
We sit down. Bowl full of so much goodness. We enjoy it in silence. Roosters aren’t so cocky now, are they? I am. Running through the house, calling out like I am Rufio from Hook. Ru-Fi-Ooooo!! The husband does not find my boasting as entertaining as I do. That’s okay. I know by his own silence, he approves of my food and as long as the tortilla warmer is full, he will be content. What a success. Suck on those bones stupid roosters!
- 3 lbs. boneless chicken
- 6 large ripe tomatoes *roasted, deseeded and crushed
- 1 large yellow onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
- 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 3 tbsp. butter/lard
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large stockpot, over medium to high heat, add water, chicken, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 clove garlic, and quartered onion. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the chicken and allow it to cool. After the chicken cools, shred it.
- In a blender add the boiled onion and garlic clove, one quartered tomato, chipotle peppers including adobo sauce, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 cups chicken broth to the blender. Puree until smooth.
- Heat the oil in a large and deep pan over medium heat.
- Chop remaining onion and cook until soft and translucent (about 2 minutes).
- Chop remaining tomatoes and chop garlic and add to pan.
- Add the shredded chicken, the blended chipotle sauce and more chicken broth if needed. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.