Chicken Tinga Tacos

So here’s the thing – I’m on the train to work right now, and I am STILL thinking about the tacos we had last night. Juicy, smoky chicken in a spiced tomato sauce, cotija cheese, radishes, and smashed avocado. I mean, does it get any better than that? Not really.

I love chipotle peppers. In everything. In case you don’t know, chipotles are simply ripe jalapeños that are smoked, and then left to marinate in adobo sauce. But the process makes them sooo much more complex than just jalapeños. (No shade, I promise)

Andy doesn’t like as much heat as I do, so I only put in two peppers for a pretty medium spice level, but you can easily do more or less depending on what you like. Personally, I would’ve added another! I don’t think you understand how much I adore that smoky goodness and depth of flavor. And let’s be honest, when it’s mixed with bright, acidic tomato and red onion, it’s a truly transcendent tastebud experience. Then mix with some chicken and slather it all onto a tortilla?! I AM THERE.

The thing that really makes this recipe even more amazing, is that it comes together in less than half an hour! So don’t be afraid to bring some big flavor to a weeknight and guilt your family into thinking you slaved over that chicken all day – it’ll be our little secret, okay?

Chicken Tinga Tacos

  • 3 Tbsp. avocado or canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 chipotles in adobo, or to taste
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 rotisserie chicken – white and dark meats, shredded
  • Corn or other preferred tortilla
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • Radishes, sliced thin – optional
  • A few sprigs of cilantro
  • 1/2 c. cotija cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until slightly soft – about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, chipotles, garlic, oregano and cumin. Stir to combine and simmer for a few minutes.
  2. Transfer tomato mixture to food processor or and purée until smooth. Caution – hot foods in a food processor can be dangerous! Make sure to let cool for a minute or two prior to blending, and be careful of any hot liquid.
  3. Add remaining oil to Dutch over and heat over medium until shimmering. Add shredded chicken and brown slightly, stirring occasionally. Mix in puréed sauce and reduce heat to low and cover. Let simmer while preparing tortillas and accouterments.
  4. Char tortillas directly over flame until edges are charred, or heat in a nonstick skillet until warm and pliable.
  5. Mix avocado with lime juice and salt to taste, and spread on the tortillas. Top with chicken, radishes, cilantro and cheese.

Notes and Variations

One of the best things about this recipe is how quickly everything comes together. Using rotisserie chicken certainly saves you a lot of time, but you can use whatever chicken or leftover you have. If you’re using a whole chicken, don’t throw away the bones! Save it and make chicken broth, or add it to my Scrappy Vegetable Stock and get ready for the best chicken/veggie combo broth you’ve ever had. It is AMAZING as a base for Chicken and Wild Rice soup!

You can also customize the heat! Love it super spicy? Make it hotter with more chipotles or add some fresh jalapeño on top. Use a different cheese, flour tortillas, sour cream… there are a ton of options. Go crazy!

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