Chicken Tinga and Refried Beans Par Excellence

January 29, 2017

I’ve been on a real Mexican food streak. Last week I made tostadas with refried beans. The beans were promising but I knew they could be better. That gave the impetus to try  another Mexican dish so I could have refried beans as a side dish. The main dish was Chicken Tinga from Serious Eats. This is a pretty straight forward recipe without a lot of ingredients or steps. That dark container on the bottom left is Chipotle en Adobo – jalapeños that have been processed to result in a smoky, hot flavorful spice. Most recipes only call for 1 or two of the chiles, so I put the rest in a covered glass container for a few weeks for use in another dish.

Chicken Tinga ingredients

Chicken Tinga ingredients

I don’t have a personal copy of this recipe because I cooked it directly as written.

Chop and measure stuff. Not only do we use two of the jalapeños, we use 2 Tablespoons of the sauce. This dish is going to be spicy.

Chicken Tinga Mis en Place

Chicken Tinga Mis en Place

The next step is to salt and sauté the chicken in a dutch oven. After browning, remove the chicken and sauté the onion and garlic in the fat; add the roughly chopped tomatillo and cook it down as well. Bloom the oregano and cumin then toss in the chipotle en adobo, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, chicken broth and bay leaf.

Chicken Tinga sauce

Chicken Tinga sauce before smoothing

The recipe calls for smoothing the sauce in a blender. I used an immersion blender trying to save cleaning but it took a while to get it smooth that way. When it boils place the chicken in the sauce and cook until the chicken thighs are 165° in the thickest part. I figured 15-20 minutes but the largest thigh took almost 30 minutes even with the lid on the last 10 minutes. By that time the sauce had reduced too much. I think the problem was the pot was too big for the amount of chicken and sauce; the thighs were only half submerged. If I make this again I’ll use a sauté pan for the chicken and a large, but not huge, pot for the sauce and simmering.

As I started the chicken tinga, I popped the beans into pressure cooker (I soaked the beans in salt water overnight this time.)

Refried Beans ingredients (sans spices)

Refried Beans ingredients (sans spices)

For a fuller description of cooking the beans you can read last week’s post. I improved by

  • Soaking/brining the beans overnight
  • Substituting half the water with homemade chicken stock
  • Adding 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt

Drain the beans reserving  the bean broth. Sauté the onion and jalapeño in 4 Tablespoons lard then toss in the beans and cook a few minutes.

Refried beans out of the pot and into the pan

Refried beans out of the pot and into the pan

Add 1 cup of the broth and mash the beans up.If you like your beans  mash with a potato masher. I like them creamier, so I poured the bean mixture into a large bowl, added the broth to blend with an immersion blender; then the mixture back into the pan and cook until the desired consistency is achieved. If they are too dry, add a Tablespoon of water at a time. Too wet? Cook some more and they’ll dry up a bit.

Creamy refried beans

Creamy refried beans

The beans were glorious. This is my new standard for refried beans. I’ve updated the recipe which you can find here. If you want pinto beans straight-up with no mashing, try this recipe.

To finish the tinga, remove the chicken from the pot, shred and put the pieces back in the sauce until warmed through. To serve, I dipped corn tortillas in a bowl of water and then cooked in a non-stick skillet until dry and starting to toast up, turning once.

Dinner is served

Dinner is served: Chicken Tinga with refried beans

Dinner is served: Chicken Tinga with refried beans

The tacos were good – with a nice spicy sauce; perhaps I was too focused on my bean project to really appreciate them.


Beans: ★★★★★

Chicken tinga tacos: ★★★



About howardwthompson

I'm a person who likes to travel, read, cook, and eat
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2 Responses to Chicken Tinga and Refried Beans Par Excellence

  1. Pingback: Pressure Cooker Balsamic Chicken Thighs | 2for66

  2. Pingback: Things I’ve Cooked Recently | 2for66

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