Chicken breasts are slowly simmered in a mixture of tomatoes, chipotles, onion, oregano, thyme and bay leaf until they can be easily shredded for the filling of these tacos.
What is tinga?
Chicken breasts are slowly simmered in a mixture of tomatoes, chipotles, onion, oregano, thyme and bay leaf until they can be easily shredded for the filling of these tacos. Chicken tinga, or tinga de pollo, is a flavorful Mexican dish similar to a stew with a good amount of spice.
What are chipotles anyway?
The spice comes from dried chipotle chiles and sometimes chorizo, though I chose to keep it simple using canned chipotles in adobo in this recipe. Chilies are given different names once the peppers are dried and the flavor profile changes; chipotles are jalapeño peppers picked when they are fully ripe and red then dried and smoked.
Can I make this ahead of time?
The chicken tinga filling can easily be made ahead of time for meal prep, or frozen to be reheated later. For a shortcut, shredded rotisserie chicken can be added to the simmering tinga sauce. While I love using the meat in the crispy tacos, they are frequently served on top of crispy tostadas and taste great served as the protein on burrito rice bowls.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and heat through. Add the onion and sauté, simmering until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, chipotles, chicken broth, oregano, thyme and the bay leaf, stirring to combine.
Add the chicken breasts to the pan, nestling them into the sauce. Cover the pan and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and let cool until the chicken can be shredded.
Return the pan to medium-low heat and continue to simmer until the sauce reduces and thickens, about an additional 10 minutes. Return the shredded chicken to the sauce, stirring to combine. Season with salt to taste and set aside until ready to use.
Heat oven to broil on high. Warm the corn tortillas for 30 seconds over a gas flame or in the microwave. Rub the tortillas on both sides with the oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Spread a spoonful of the beans on half of each of the tortillas and top with a spoonful of the chicken tinga mixture. Sprinkle with the cheese and fold the other half of the tortillas over the filling, pushing to adhere.
Broil the tacos until the first side is crispy, checking them frequently, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip the tacos with a spatula and continue to cook until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crisp, about an additional 2 minutes.
Serve the tacos topped with cilantro and green onions and serve immediately with lime wedges.
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