Puebla, Mexico, is known for many Mexican fan favorites, including mole poblano and chiles en nogada. Chicken tinga or “tinga de pollo” also hails from these parts. It is composed of shredded chicken, chipotle chiles, tomatoes, and other Mexican spices, including oregano, bay leaves, and garlic.
In its most traditional form, it is served as a stew with tortillas, but other adaptations feature it on a tostada alongside refried beans. Its unmatched smokiness is incredibly addicting no matter what the occasion!
Unlike other blog posts out there, we create our own chipotle adobo and balance those hot peppers with various acids. The primary reason for this is because you cannot know what type of adobo you are getting in a jar. We want you to trust the flavors and ensure their authenticity.
Our adaptation showcases the tinga de pollo in taquitos that are dipped into a refreshing avocado mint crema!
The key to making tinga de pollo is learning how to treat the chiles to make the adobo, in which the chicken is cooked. For an in-depth look into all Mexican chiles, their flavors, and their treatment, visit our post, “How to Treat Dried Chiles for Mexican Adobos and Salsas.” We employ chipotle chiles in this recipe that are sweet, smoky, and very spicy.
Storage of Chiles
The shelf-life of dried chiles is three to six months. When storing dried chiles, store them in airtight containers in a cool dark place. Alternatively, you may store them in an airtight container in the freezer. This step will ensure that the chiles stay fresh for the maximum time. For more information about storage, visit our post “Storing Dried Peppers: A Comprehensive Guide.”
Toasting the Spices
Before use, toast the dried chiles in a dry sauté pan at medium heat to enhance those flavors by releasing their natural oils. When they appear intensely aromatic, they are ready for use. The toasting process should only take 1 minute. Be careful not to burn them as they will develop a bitter taste.
Soak the Chiles
For tinga de pollo, dried chiles are used to make the adobo, but they are rehydrated before use. To rehydrate dried chiles, you must soak them in hot water for 20-30 minutes or until they are fully hydrated. Use a spoon periodically to push them into the liquid so that the entire chile is adequately soaked. Once soft, they are ready to be blended.
What is Crema?
Mexican crema is a thick, creamy, tangy, and salty condiment composed of primarily heavy cream, sour cream or buttermilk, lime juice, and salt. It is dolloped into hot stewed meat or bean dishes to balance its spice. It can also be drizzled over flautas, or taquitos, or into tacos to provide freshness.
We love traditional crema. However, for this recipe, we decided to use high-fat yogurt and avocado instead of sour cream and heavy cream for that fatty creaminess factor. Although not a traditional crema, it nonetheless complements our chicken tinga taquitos very well!
Reheating and Storage
Store leftover taquitos in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You may consume them for up to 4 days. To reheat them, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). Place the taquitos on a greased baking sheet for 15 minutes or until they are warm and crispy.
Store leftover avocado mint crema in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You may consume it for up to 7 days.
We recommend pairing this dish with a traditional Chelada by mixing lime juice (one lime per serving) with a Mexican or Dominican beer such as Modela, Corona, or Presidente and serving it in a glass with a salted rim.
Check out this Spruce Eats post for the recipe.
Love your Leftovers
Extra Chipotle Adobo
You are only required to toss half of the chipotle adobo with the shredded chicken, leaving you with extra adobo. Adding too much sauce will cause the taquitos to unravel and prevent them from getting crispy.
Save the extra adobo, skip the steps for making the adobo or tomato puree, pour the sauce into a cast-iron pan, and crack a few eggs in the leftover sauce to make our Mexican baked eggs and roasted fingerling potatoes.
Extra Avocado Mint Crema
- Dollop it onto roasted vegetables
- Dip fresh vegetables into it for a healthy snack
- Top a chocolate cake or brownie with it
Purge Your Fridge
Tinga de Pollo (Chicken Tinga)
- 12 corn tortillas
- 3 cups cheese Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and Asadero cheese
- cilantro garnish
- Maldon salt flakes to taste (garnish)
Avocado Mint Crema
- 1 avocado
- 3 tbsp greek yogurt full-fat
- 2 limes squeezed
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp mint leaves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- ground pepper to taste
1. Clean the Chicken, Cut the Vegetables, and Grate the Cheese
- Clean chicken thighs and pat them dry. Set aside.
- Dice the onion and roughly chop the garlic. Set aside.
- Grate the cheeses. Set aside.
2. Toast Chiles and Soak them for 30 minutes
- Cut chipotle chiles in half and remove seeds. Remove seeds (where possible) with a paring knife. The remaining seeds will be easy to remove after the soaking process.
- Place sauté pan on the stovetop at medium heat. Add dried chiles to the pan and toast them for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Half-fill a saucepan with water and place the saucepan on the stovetop at high heat. Once the water is hot, turn off the heat on the stovetop and add the chiles.
- Soak them for 30 minutes.
3. Sauté Onions, Garlic, and Spices
- Place sauté pan on the stovetop at medium-low heat. Add olive oil and allow it to heat.
- Add onions and garlic. Sauté for 5-7 minutes.
- Add oregano, ground cumin, and cumin seeds. Sauté for an additional 5-7 minutes.
4. Blend and Make the Adobo
- Combine 3/4 of the onion/garlic mixture with soaked chiles and fire-roasted tomatoes in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the blended adobo into a pot on the stovetop at medium-low heat.
- Add the remaining onion/garlic mixture, chicken stock, water, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and ground pepper. Stir.
- Cover the pot with its lid and allow the adobo to cook for 10-15 minutes to marry the flavors.
5. Cook the Chicken in the Adobo and Shred It
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius).
- Add the chicken thighs to the pot. Stir.
- Cover the pot with its lid. Cook the chickens for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
- Remove the chicken from the adobo. Shred the chicken.
6. Make the Avocado Mint Crema
- Combine avocado, yogurt, lime juice, mint leaves, and water in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
- Stir in salt and ground pepper to taste.
7. Reduce the Adobo and Toss the Chicken
- Remove the lid, and increase the heat on the stovetop to medium-high.
- Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce reduces to a thick consistency.
- Toss the shredded chicken with half of the sauce.
8. Roll Up the Taquitos and Bake
- Brush each tortilla with olive oil on both sides.
- Spoon chipotle chicken onto 1/4 of the tortilla. Sprinkle grated cheese over the tortillas.
- Roll the tortillas up tightly and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip them.
- Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until crispy.
9. Let’s Plate
- Place taquitos on a platter.
- Pour avocado mint crema into a bowl (to dip each taquito).
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and Maldon salt flakes.