Craving a different taco? Well today I’m sharing with you a saucy, smokey chicken one that’s spicy yet not overpowering, it’s bold and authentic in flavor, too! Shredded Chicken Tinga Tacos for everyone!
What’s Chicken Tinga?
Chicken Tinga (tinga de pollo) is a dish that originated in the city of Puebla, Mexico.
Tinga has chicken simmered with tomatoes, onion, garlic and smoky chipotle chiles with adobo sauce. Spices like Mexican oregano, clove, bay leaf and thyme are in the mix and to add a kiss of sweetness, traditionally piloncillo is used, but I add a bit of honey. 🙂
Uses for Tinga de Pollo
We’ll be using the finished chicken tinga recipe for tacos today. You could easily fill enchiladas, top tostadas and add it to a salad.
It’s fantastic on nachos and in burrito bowls, too.
How to make Chicken Tinga
A lot of recipes out there make it easier by using shredded chicken. Some use poached, shredded or a rotisserie chicken, but I feel the chicken needs to “stew” with the vegetables, chiles and herbs to infuse and pack that flavor punch. Makes sense, right?
Pouring a sauce over plain chicken may be easier, but it isn’t as flavorful and my version is just as easy, watch the video. I’ll show you by making it in an Instant Pot. You don’t have to sacrifice authentic flavor by using modern methods to get this on the table quicker!
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
Some of the ingredients for this chicken tinga recipe are ones I already make, and if you like to have homemade ingredients as opposed to store bought ones, check out my recipes for How to Make Chipotle Peppers and How to Make Adobo Sauce.
A little information for you on the two different oreganos. Mexican oregano is a relative of Lemon Verbena and is native to Mexico. Similar in that it’s pungent like Mediterranean oregano, Mexican oregano has notes of mild licorice and citrus. This is worth finding at your market in the ethnic section for spices. It adds that authentic flavor the other oregano just doesn’t deliver.
Mediterranean oregano is a member of the mint family and most often is used in Greek and Italian recipes. Mediterranean oregano is the one most found in spice racks and supermarkets.
After it’s done in the Instant Pot remove the chicken and shred it.
Turn the setting to Saute and reduce the sauce.
I typically save half of the sauce to serve over an egg breakfast, spoon over enchiladas or for dipping tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Watch how to make this below!
Chicken Tinga Tacos
- 4 lbs chicken thighs skinless, boneless (See Note 1)
- 1 large yellow onion sliced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 7 oz chipotle peppers with adobo sauce
- 4 tomatillos
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground clove
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- corn tortillas
- cotija cheese or queso fresco
- diced onion
- cilantro chopped
- Purée in a blender the chicken stock, tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce, tomatillos, garlic, honey, salt, oregano and clove until smooth.
- Turn Instant Pot to Sauté setting and add oil to pot. When hot add the tinga sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and sliced onion. Press chicken and onion down to submerge and cover with sauce.
- Close lid and seal. Press Manual Pressure and set time to 12 minutes. Allow 5 minutes to natural release.
- Open lid and shred chicken. If too thin of a sauce, turn to Sauté and cook to reduce and thicken. Add chicken back into toss and coat.
- Serve with corn tortillas heated and charred over open flame or warmed along with cotija cheese, onion, avocado and cilantro.
- I often times use 2 lbs thigh meat and 2 lbs chicken breast, optional.