Tostadas de Tinga Poblana
Tinga is a comforting chipotle-and-tomato-stewed chicken recipe from Puebla that usually has a tangy, lightly smoky flavor. Because of the saturated smokiness, sweetness, and kick of spice from the chipotle peppers, and the toastiness of the corn tostada, you get a lot of flavor in this dish from very few ingredients.
Note: If you like dark chicken meat, feel free to substitute a couple of thighs for one or both of the breasts.
NOPALITO'S TOSTADAS DE TINGA POBLANA
by Gonzalo Guzman with Stacy Adimando
Chicken Tinga Tostadas Makes 8
- 1 large or 2 small dried chipotle chiles
- 2 raw bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 1 pound) or 3 cups cooked shredded rotisserie chicken
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium white onion, 1⁄2 whole, 1⁄2 thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, whole, plus 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons rice bran oil or canola oil
- 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh epazote or cilantro
- 1 cup Frijoles Pinquitos Refritos, or good-quality store-bought refried pinto beans
- 8 homemade tostadas, or warmed store-bought tostadas
- Crema or sour cream
- Crumbled queso fresco
In a small pot, cover the chile with enough water just to cover; bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and let sit until the chile is softened, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the chicken breasts in a medium pot and add enough water just to cover; season generously with salt and add the whole 1⁄2 of the onion, the whole garlic cloves, and the bay leaf. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a steady simmer and cook until the meat is just cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken, reserving the liquid for another use if desired, and let cool slightly, then shred the meat from the bones (discard the skin). (You should have about 3 cups.)
Remove the chile from its soaking water and finely chop. In a small pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until well softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add 1⁄2 of the chopped chile to the pot with the onion and garlic (you can add more later to taste). Add the tomatoes and increase the heat to bring the tomatoes to a boil. Lower to a simmer and let cook until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 20 minutes. Stir in the epazote and the shredded chicken, and heat until the chicken is warmed through. Taste and adjust the salt or the amount of chile. (This mixture can be stored up to overnight, then reheated in a pot just before proceeding.)
When ready to serve the tostadas, quickly warm up the refried beans in a small pot, thinning them as needed with water to achieve a spreadable consistency. Carefully spread some of the beans onto each warm tostata shell. Top with some of the chicken mixture. Garnish with crema and queso fresco and serve immediately.
How to Make Your Own Tostada Shells
You can make tostadas—the crispy tortilla base for this dish—one of two ways: by baking day-old, homemade corn tortillas (or store-bought tortillas right from the package) at low heat in the oven to dry them out, or frying them in oil at high heat. Alternatively, you can buy tostadas in stores and reheat according to the package directions.
TO BAKE: Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the tortillas in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crispy, 20 to 30 minutes.
TO FRY: To a medium frying pan, add enough rice bran oil or canola oil to reach 1⁄2 inch up the sides of the pan. Set a paper towel–lined plate next to the stove. Heat the oil to high heat (but not to the point where it’s smoking) and add the tortillas 2 or 3 at a time as space allows. Fry, flipping occasionally, until golden and crisp on both sides. Transfer to the prepared plate to drain.
Reprinted with permission from Nopalito copyright 2017 by Gonzalo Guzman with Stacy Adimando. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Eva Kolenko