Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chicken Tinga

In case you don't know, I'm a consultant. Guess what that means?

I'm a Platinum Marriott Rewards member and I've been around a restaurant or two.

One of my and my coworker's favorite places to go for a quick lunch is Cosi. If you're not familiar with Cosi, just know that it's a soup/salad/sandwich place with incredible flatbreads that are baked on-site. This summer, Cosi unveiled a new sandwich: the Chicken Tinga. I had never heard of this chicken tinga stuff before but since the sandwich contained feta, guacamole, and most importantly, chicken which looked a lot like pulled pork, I knew I had to have it. And after my first messy bite, I was hooked. I loved the smoky, spicy combination of my favorite ingredients as well as the fresh salsa and cilantro that topped the sandwich.

Several weeks and numerous Chicken Tinga sandwiches later, I got to thinking: I could make this myself. I could have a never-ending supply of chicken tinga in my own house! (Well, it wouldn't be never-ending, but I could always make more.) What took me so long to come up with this idea?

Chicken Tinga
heavily adapted from recipes at What's Eric Cooking? & Teaching in Mexico
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 - 4 tomatillos, quartered
  • 2 1/2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 - 2 tsp oregano
  • ~7 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Salt, to taste
1) Add all ingredients and a few teaspoons of salt to a large pot. Add water until all the ingredients are covered.

2) Bring the mixture to a boil.

3) Remove the chicken after about 20-25 minutes in the mixture. You are looking for the chicken to be cooked most of the way through.

4) Let the rest of the mixture continue to boil down for another 20 minutes.

5) Meanwhile, shred the chicken breasts.

6) Once the 20 minutes have elapsed, use an immersion blender to puree the mixture. (You can use a regular blender if you don't have an immersion blender.)

7) Allow the puree to simmer for about an hour. You want it to be a thick sauce, but you don't want it to be watery or paste-like. You may need to simmer the sauce for a little more or a little less time, depending on your preferences.

8) Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the shredded chicken. The residual heat will finish cooking the chicken.

9) Add more salt to taste.

10) Put the chicken tinga on a roll (or in a tortilla) and add salsa, cheese, and whichever other toppings float your boat. You can also serve over rice if you like. Enjoy!

So far, I've had chicken tinga in both a tortilla and on a roll. This was every bit as tasty as I imagined it would be. The chicken was tender and smoky from the chipotle peppers. The peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos came together to form the base of the spicy sauce that coated the chicken.

Wow, if I had known that it would be so easy (and tasty) to make my own chicken tinga I would have done this months ago! I can't wait to see what else I can slather this stuff on...


  1. I made this last night and it was soooo delicious. My only change was to use less of the chipotle peppers - I used 3 (about 1/2 of the 7 oz can, and a TBSP of the adobo sauce itself. Still packs heat! Delicious!!! Thanks for the awesome recipe =)

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