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Chicken Tinga in corn tortilla with avocado, onion, and crumbled cheese.

Chicken Tinga (Chicken in Chipotle-Tomato Sauce)

A recipe for Chicken Tinga (Chicken in Chipotle- Tomato Sauce) from the cookbook, Eat Mexico, by Lesley Téllez.
Course Main
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chicken, chipotle, Mexican, Mexico, poultry
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 -6 Servings


  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken breasts
  • 1/4 small onion
  • 1 dried Mexican bay leaf
  • 1 medium garlic clove unpeeled

For the Ting Sauce:

  • 6 ripe roma tomatoes or 32 ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped onion
  • 1 medium garlic clove minced
  • 2 chipotles en adobo from a can minced with the seeds, plus 2 teaspoons of the sauce or more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 cup Chicken stock plus more if needed
  • Salt to taste

For serving:

  • 2 cups Crema
  • 12 tostadas or tortillas
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 avocado peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • Queso Añejo or other aged, crumbly cheese


  • Remove any excess fat from the chicken breasts, including the skin. Place in a large heavy pot and just cover with cold water. Add the onion, bay leaf and garlic and bring to a boil.
  • Turn the flame to the lowest it will go, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove from the pot and let cool.
  • Shred the meat into pieces with your fingers. Strain the broth, reserving 1 cup, and freeze the rest.
  • Make the sauce. If using fresh tomatoes, cut in half and remove the seeds, then coarsely chop. If using canned tomatoes, drain them well, then pulse in a food processor into coarse, chunky pieces. Drain again if they're ver juicy.
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Add the tomates, cooking for about 5 minutes if using fresh (you want a thick, chunky paste) or about 3 minutes for canned to let the flavors meld, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the shredded chicken, chipotle and adobo sauce, oregano, chicken stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt. (If using fresh tomatoes, you'll need to add more than 1/4 cup stock so the tinga doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan as it cooks.
  • The chipotle should be noticeable but not too punchy. Taste and add more if necessary. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Uncover and add salt to taste. If the tinga still looks soupy, raise the heat and reduce the juices a bit more.
  • To serve as tostadas, slather a thin layer of crema on each tortilla. (For more amped-up chipotle flavor, mix a little adobo sauce into the crema.) Add a few spoonfuls of tinga, a slice of white onion and two slivers of avocado to each. Top with the crumbled cheese.