Feliz Cinco de Mayo! What a wonderful time to celebrate Mexican Culture and food with family and those we love. This year it is unique as it falls on Taco Tuesday. Perhaps we aren't able to spend it out like we traditionally do, however that doesn't mean we can't enjoy some amazing food and celebrate. Here is a recipe that hails from Puebla, Mexico. I decided this was a perfect recipe to showcase as Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the battle of Puebla for Mexicans. Chicken Tinga is traditionally pieces of chicken that has been boiled, shredded, and finished in a rich tomato-based sauce spiced with smokey roasted chipotles and onions. It is most often a filling for tacos, tostadas, and quesadillas. I love it because it can be made ahead and is great for feeding large gatherings. My favorite thing about owning a Pit Barrel® is taking traditional recipes and adding that barrel smoke to add another layer of flavor and deliver juicy fall off the bone meat. So turn out up the music and get your favorite beverage ready. Quarantine doesn't have to be boring. Let's celebrate Pit Barrel style!
3 lbs chicken (I used 2 lbs of boneless skinless thighs and 1 lb of bone-in split breasts).
1 large yellow sweet onion halved
1 large white onion finely diced
2 tbsp. olive Oil
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
4 cloves peeled garlic
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp. Mexican Oregano
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground marjoram
1 dried bayleaf
7 oz. can chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 28 ounces of fire roasted Roma tomatoes*
Take half chicken and season it lightly with garlic salt, cumin, bay leaf, and smoked paprika. Brown in a dutch oven in a couple of tablespoons of corn oil ( just a few minutes on each side).
Add halved onion, garlic, spices, and cover with chicken stock plus 1 cup additional water. Bring to simmer then reduce to low for 30 minutes covered.
Season remainder of chicken and hang in the Pit Barrel®. Use your favorite wood. I used mesquite and pecan chips for this cook. Cook till 165 internal temperature. Once cooked pull, cool, and shred. I used split grate and simultaneously cooked tomatoes in a cast-iron skillet till soft.
Remove boiled chicken along with onion halves and strain broth into a separate bowl.
Add olive oil to the dutch oven that chicken was cooked in and cook diced onions till translucent about 4 minutes. Add strained broth to onions and reduce for about 15 to 20 minutes or till it reduces in half.
In a blender add halved onions, garlic that was removed from the broth, and one can of chipotles, plus tomatoes. Blend till smooth for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add blended chipotle/tomato mixture to the reduced broth and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
Add shredded chicken to sauce and cook on a low simmer for 15 more minutes.
- Serve as a filling for tacos sprinkled with queso fresco and cilantro or on a tostada with beans, guacamole, lettuce, and cheese.
I love a good flour tortilla dipped in the sauce then stuffed with the chicken and cheese and finished on a flat top as the best quesadilla you will ever eat. Tinga is so versatile and you will find it work its way into your weekly meals. Provecho!
*I char mine in cast iron skillet in the Pit Barrel® but you can also use canned fire roasted tomatoes.