Tinga from Guanajuato Chicken with Chipotle and Bay Leaf

There are certain flavors in this recipe if you forget them, you miss them: bay leaves and chipotle. 
This recipe freezes well. If you have any left, that is.

This came to my house via my sister-in-law from the region of Guanajuato. She gave me the recipe years ago and since then it has become a household favorite. This is probably my favorite recipe of all the ones I have learned over the years.

By the way, this recipe can easily be converted into a vegan/vegetarian meal. Just don't add the chicken and use a faux chicken broth.

I break my ingredients down into three compartments because I do this from memory at this point and it helps when I'm shopping for the ingredients. Yes, I have forgotten ingredients. Bugger to have to go back out for something, isn't it?


1. The white mix:
Salt to taste 
Onion, quartered
Garlic smashed 
Water to boil chicken
Bay leaves
Olive oil

2. The Red mix:
Chipotle chiles -San Marcos has our preferred flavor. 
Chicken broth (from cooking your chicken)

3. The finale:
Sour Cream
Salt to taste

Chipotle Chile I had frozen from a previous batch.

Boil your chicken. The whole thing. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves and salt. It takes about ... I don't know! I just boil it until it falls off the bone, which is about an hour. Take it out of the water to help it cool faster and shred it, removing the skin. I save that for later and fry it for Mama Fried Chicken Skin, which the kids l.o.v.e. Keep the broth. You use it in the tomato sauce.

This tiny picture is the obligatory shot of the cooking chicken. I cannot lie, dead poultry is not beautiful and I don't really like this photo. No matter how hard I tried, it just didn't take right, so don't look too hard at this picture. I'm just going to keep it small. There. Moving on now.

It still tastes good!

I start with grouping the ingredients together. It's a memorized recipe and by grouping them, I remember what I've already done. The red ingredients go together. Tomatoes, Chipotle chiles, and chicken broth from the boiled chicken, which is below. I have several things going on at the same time with this recipe, starting with the chicken because it takes the longest. These chipotles are from a previous can that I separated and freezed. In my household, a little chile goes a long way, so I use 2 and the salsa that sticks to the side of the can.
By the way, when you freeze chiles, they lose some of their heat. Keep it in mind if you have any chiles left over. 

Fresh homegrown tomatoes make the vibrant red that compliments the plate. Use some of the chicken broth to help it blend evenly. I use about a half cup to a cup of broth. The aroma is delightful to your nose. You may want to taste -- a couple times.

The onion should be cut in half and sliced.

Add the onion to the olive oil at a lower temperature so as not to burn or brown the onion. At this point, your house starts to smell really good. So good I had to post on Facebook how wonderful it smelled.

Wash and rinse your cabbage. Remove any bad spots.

This may seem like a lot of cabbage, but it wilts so over flow that pan. The cabbage goes right in over the onion that has been sauteed. A little broth to help make it wilt and put a lid on it!

Your cabbage should be ready to go in the pot shortly following the onion. Chop it to the same width as the onion for consistency.

This cabbage is now wilted and mixed in well with the onion.

Blend in the tomato mix. The longer the flavors mingle, the better the Tinga. I usually make a very large batch so that we can have some the following day. It just seems to get better!

Vegetarians and Vegans!
If you are vegetarian, you could completely skip the chicken -- use some chicken flavored stock, and you are good with just the cabbage and onion part, am I right? I think so. I nibble off the cabbage mix before the chicken cools. It's all good.

But this...this is lovely. This is the cabbage and onion medley with the tomato and chipotle blend. Can you smell it?  Bay leaves on top to add to the cooking process. Remove the bay leaves prior to eating.
Now this--this is lovely and fragrant.

Begin tostada construction: Sour cream layered on the tostada.

Tinga on top! Add extra spice as needed. Tinga is a spicy meal, but that depends on how many chiles you add to your dish. I like to add 2 chipotle chiles, but first I set some of the chicken and tomato aside so that the more tender tastebuds don't get scorched. I scrape some of the flavor of the chipotle off the insides of the can and use that for the non-spicy batch.

Caution: This recipe is addictive and will be requested over and over and over and... you get the picture. My excuse: Making it is second nature and I forget to take pictures. 

Excuse over. 
It's up now. 

Share away. 

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