Slow-Cooker Chicken Tinga Tacos
Tinga is a Pueblan dish of braised chicken or pork in a chipotle, tomato and onion sauce, traditionally served on crisp tostadas and finished with toppings like crema, avocado and shredded lettuce. Some versions braise the meat directly in the sauce, while others call for chicken or pork that’s already been cooked to be warmed in the sauce. (Some variations include chorizo, too.) The dish is widely popular because it’s affordable and versatile, and tastes complex even though it is easy to make. For this slow-cooker adaptation, the bulk of the cook time is hands-off braising. Fresh corn is not traditional in tinga, but it’s delicious, adding pops of sweetness and a flavor that echoes the corn tortillas or tostadas. Add one chipotle for a mild spice level or three for a more intense result.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1cup crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted (about 9 ounces)
- 5garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
- 1to 3 chipotle chiles, minced, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from 1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce)
- 1tablespoon tomato paste
- 1tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1fresh or dried bay leaf
- 1teaspoon dried oregano
- ½teaspoon ground cumin
- 1white or red onion, thinly sliced
- Coarse kosher salt
- Kernels cut from 2 small ears fresh corn (about 2 cups) or 10 ounces frozen, thawed corn
- ½teaspoon onion powder
- Juice of 1/2 lime (about 2 teaspoons), plus more to taste
- 8corn tortillas or tostadas
- Mexican-style crema or sour cream, for serving
- Sliced avocado, for serving
Step 1In a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker, combine the chicken thighs, crushed tomatoes, garlic, chipotle chiles and adobo sauce, tomato paste, vegetable oil, bay leaf, oregano, cumin and half the onion. (Reserve the other half for serving.) Stir to combine and season with 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook on low until the chicken is very tender, about 6 hours.
Step 2About 15 minutes before serving, turn the heat to high and stir in the corn kernels, onion powder and lime juice. Cook until the corn is warmed through, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, if using tortillas, warm them.
Step 3Remove and discard the bay leaf. Using two forks, coarsely shred the chicken. Taste the tinga and add more salt or lime juice if necessary. Serve the tinga on tortillas or tostadas, topped with the remaining sliced onion, the crema and the avocado.