One Whole Chicken, 2 meals Part 2: Chicken Tinga Tostadas

This week in our 2-part series we make chicken tinga tostadas with the other half of the 5-pound chicken we made in our last post. Tinga is a smoky, tangy chipotle flavored sauce.

Welcome to part two of our 2-part series on how to cook a whole chicken and make it stretch into two meals for a family of four. Our last post showed you how a whole chicken is boiled with onions, garlic, bay leaves and allspice then shredded, with half being made into enchiladas with a super easy homemade red enchilada sauce.

Today I’m showing you how to take the other half of that meat and turn it into chicken tinga tostadas.

Tinga is a smoky chipotle flavored sauce with tomatoes, garlic and onions. Typically, it’s paired with chicken but I have seen it made with beef as well.

Chicken tinga is mostly served on tostadas but once you make this, you’re gonna love it for tacos, burritos or even just piled on top of rice.

The main flavor in tinga is the canned chipotle in adobo sauce readily available in the Hispanic food section of most major supermarkets.

What are chipotle peppers?

Chipotle peppers start their life out as a jalapeño. Once that pepper is dried, it’s called a chipotle. You can buy the dried peppers in bulk to rehydrate in hot water so they can then be added to salsas.

The other way to buy them is canned in Spanish adobo (a sauce made with vinegar, garlic, smoked Spanish paprika and other spices). The chiles are left whole and are soft and plump having been rehydrated in the rich, tangy sauce. Most recipes calling for chipotles in adobo almost always also ask for a teaspoon or two of the smoky-tasting adobo, so don’t toss the sauce!

My tinga recipe is moderately spiced as I’m a bit of heat wimp (no secret if you are a regular reader of this blog). I call out two chipotle peppers; other recipes call for the entire can. That is just too spicy for me. Plus, most kids I’ve known won’t eat food quite that spicy. One pepper gives it a smoky flavor and two peppers gives it just enough heat to leave some tingle on the tongue – the perfect amount of heat for me. If your family can stand the heat, by all means, use more peppers!

To really drive home the tanginess of the pepper's adobo, I add Mexican pork chorizo to my tinga. Chorizo is also flavored with vinegar; the sausage adds another layer of umami to this simple, humble dish.

I’m not using the entire can of chipotle peppers. Now what?

So what do to do with the rest of the peppers in that can if you’re only using one or two?

Do what I do: divide them into snack-sized resealable baggies putting two peppers and some of the adobo into each, then put those into a quart-sized resealable freezer bag and toss them, labeled first, into the freezer. Then when you want a little smokiness in a sauce (wonderful in a tomato sauce for pasta or to give some smoky flavor to blended hot sauces), pull out a snack bag and defrost by placing it into a bowl of tap water for 20 minutes.

What about the tostadas?

Tostadas are corn tortillas that have been baked or deep fried until crispy.

Yes, you can buy commercially made tostadas. They are made from coarse ground yellow corn and resemble, in texture and look, an oversized plain Dorrito. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dorritos once in a while but they aren’t a Mexican food by any stretch of the imagination.

I very much prefer homemade, baked tostadas over commercially made ones. Baked or fried corn tortillas are superior in texture and are much more authentic.

Today’s recipe for chicken tinga tostadas, uses up the leftover tortillas from last week's chicken enchiladas recipe by baking them until crispy and chip-like. Or pick up more fresh tortillas especially for these tostadas when you shop for the other ingredients.

Garnish your chicken tinga tostadas with radishes, chunks of avocado, salty cotija cheese and some cilantro. I do hope you try this recipe. I'm sure they'll be a go-to, especially for informal dinner parties!

Chicken Tinga Tostadas

The tortillas are baked on a wire rack set into a sheet pan. If you don’t have racks that fit into your pans, flip the pans over and use the bottoms to bake the tortillas on. When making the sauce, determine perfect heat level by starting with the suggested two peppers, blending and then tasting, adding more chipotle if more heat is desired. 

Serves 4, with leftovers


For the tostadas:
8 corn tortillas
Cooking spray

For the sauce:
2 large roma tomatoes, approximately ¾ pound
2 fat cloves of garlic, skin on
½-inch thick slice white onion, taken from the fattest part of the onion
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, plus 2 teaspoons of adobo sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon whole dried Mexican oregano
¼ teaspoon whole dried thyme
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup chicken stock, preferably homemade

For the meat:
Avocado or canola oil, as needed
5 ½ ounces (half package) Mexican pork chorizo
¾ white onion (or what’s left after taking the slice out for the sauce), sliced into half-moons
2 ½ cups cooked shredded chicken (approximately half of the meat of the cooked chicken from part one of the series)

1 (29-ounce) can pinto beans (I prefer Goya brand)

To assemble:
Cotija cheese, grated, to taste
4 large red radishes, sliced
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
½ cup chopped cilantro


Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake the tortillas: Spread the tortillas out on two sheet pans which have a rack set in them. Spray the tortillas with cooking spray on both sides. Bake the tortillas for 8 minutes on each side, or until just starting to brown and the tortillas are fully dried out. Remove from oven; set aside.

Make the sauce: While the tortillas are baking, heat a griddle or large skillet on medium high. Place the tomatoes, garlic and onion slice on the griddle and cook on all sides, removing them from the heat once they are charred. Place the charred tomatoes and onion into a blender. Peel the garlic and add them to the blender along with the chipotle, adobo sauce, vinegar, oregano, thyme, cumin, pepper, salt and chicken stock. Blend on high until smooth. At this point, taste and adjust heat level, adding more chipotle if more heat is desired; set aside.

Cook the chorizo and finish the sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the chorizo, breaking up with a spatula. Cook until the sausage is lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from pan, leaving as much of the now flavored oil behind. Toss in the sliced onions to the hot pan and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in the tinga sauce and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat to finish developing flavor. Stir in the chicken and chorizo, continue cooking for 5 minutes to heat through; set aside.

Make the refried beans: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet. Drain the beans, reserving ¼ cup of the liquid. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully pour in the beans and the reserved ¼ cup of liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher until mostly smooth. Set aside.

To assemble: Spread beans on a tostada. Top with some of the chicken tinga. Garnish with cotija cheese, radishes, avocado and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Until next time, friends … ¡Buen Provecho!
xo, ani 


  1. This looks amazing and I look forward to giving it a try next week!

  2. We just had the tostadas for dinner and they were incredible, thanks for posting!

    1. Excellent! So glad you liked them. Thank you for giving them a go! (And, it's my pleasure!)


Post a Comment