May the 4th be with you? Yeah, that's clever and I like Star Wars as much as the next geek, but even so, I wish every day was Cinco de Mayo.
*The tie-in there is the oh-so-hilarious "It's Gonna Be May" meme popping up all over the place. I'll admit that it made me chuckle.
My contribution to the onslaught of delicious Mexican grub making its appearance this time of year is chicken tinga tacos. I first had them at a fantastic local taco restaurant and quickly became completely enamored. It's essentially shredded chicken coated with and cooked in a spicy tomato-based sauce. The key is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which are extremely hot and should be used cautiously. I only added two to my huge pot of tinga and they provided plenty of heat.
The combination of the spicy, saucy meat, verdant cilantro, and sharp, salty feta cheese was really excellent. I won't be so bold as to say it was as good as what the taco restaurant has clearly perfected, but it was close enough. Other great toppings would be cabbage slaw, diced avocado, or even a little sour cream. As far as I'm concerned, you can't really go wrong with this kind of food. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!
Tingly Tinga Tacos
- 6 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped (a good amount for us, but use more or less to your taste)
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes, not drained
- 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Place chicken breasts in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot and let sit for 25 minutes. Transfer chicken to a large bowl or a colander placed in the sink to cool.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add chipotle chiles and stir for a minute until the onions are nicely coated in the sauce, then add the tomatoes and chicken stock; season with a pinch of salt.
Cook this mixture for a few minutes, then transfer it to a blender or food processor. Let cool slightly, then blend until smooth.
Pour tomato mixture into skillet; partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce turns dark red and is no longer soupy, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add chicken and broth and stir until well mixed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken has absorbed most of the sauce, 6 to 8 minutes. Season, if necessary.
Serve with heated tortillas, cotija or feta cheese, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, and sour cream on the side.