In Puebla, and other areas of central Mexico, many of the tacos and torta carts you’ll find lining the streets specialize in one thing: Shredded chicken or beef tinga. It’s one of the most popular fillings for tortas, burritos, and enchiladas, as well, intensely flavored with smoky, spicy chipotle.
Cooking with whole chipotle chiles yields a flavor much more intense than you’ll find in run-of-the-mill, off the shelf chipotle flavored foods. Leaving the seeds in the chiles creates much more heat than you might expect, and when you balance that smoky heat with lots of cooling, fresh toppings, the combination of flavors is surprisingly complex.
Of course, if you want to dial down the heat, remove the seeds and ribs from the chipotles before chopping. Try our tinga on tostadas (if you are into that whole alliteration things), or on a crusty roll as a sandwich. Whichever form you choose for eating your tinga, be sure to have plenty of crisp Mexican beer on hand to cool the fire.
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 ounces uncooked Mexican chorizo, casings removed (if present)
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Corn tortillas, sliced red onion, lettuce, sliced avocado, sour cream or Mexican crema, sliced jalapenos
- Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper, and brown in oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When meat browns, add enough water to cover. Simmer, partly covered, for one hour, or until beef becomes tender. Remove meat from liquid and set aside; transfer liquid to a separate container and reserve.
- In the same Dutch oven, cook chorizo, onion, and garlic over medium heat until meat browns. Drain mixture on paper towels, and return to Dutch oven. Add reserved cooking liquid, the beef, tomatoes, chili peppers, about two teaspoons of the canned adobo sauce, oregano, cumin, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes to a half-hour, or until mixture thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon onto tortillas, top with red onion, shredded lettuce, a dollop of sour cream or crema, sliced avocado, and a slice of jalapeno.