Traditionally, chicken tinga is chicken accompanied by a smoky, slightly spicy sauce made from tomatoes, onions, chipotles, and spices. Tomatillos are also included in some versions, but I did not include them in my recipe for simplicity. This recipe uses pantry staples and is quick enough to be part of your weeknight repertoire. In addition, I used chicken thighs in this recipe, which I highly recommend. It is nearly impossible to overcook them, and the slightly tangy tinga sauce balances their richness. Over rice, in quesadillas, burritos, or tacos, as I did, this chicken would be delicious in any of these dishes. There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of my all-time favorite recipes for chicken tinga tacos.
Chicken Tinga Tacos
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil, separated into 2 tbsp. and 1 tbsp.
- 1 packet of low-sodium taco seasoning
- 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 white onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes
- 3 chipotles in adobo
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. Mexican oregano (regular is fine as well)
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Place chicken on pan and evenly coat with two tbsp. of the vegetable oil and then evenly season with taco seasoning.
- Place in oven and bake until cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the middle of the largest thigh reads around 160ºF, about 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken from the oven and set aside.
- Pour the remaining 1 tbsp. of oil into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add any residual juices from the chicken sheet pan – so important – don’t skip this step! So much flavor in those juices!
- Add onion and saute for 5 – 7 minutes until lightly browned.
- Add garlic and saute for 1 minute and then add tomatoes, chipotles, cumin, salt, and oregano.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring often.
- Remove from heat and add to blender, blending until smooth.
- Shred or chop chicken.
- When ready to serve, heat sauce in a medium pan, and add chicken, heating until hot.
- Serve with your favorite taco toppings.