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Tinga poblana de pollo (Mexican chicken stew) recipe

I’ve been making this stew-style dish with pork for many years. A chicken version cooks much more quickly and feels right for a smoky summer-evening supper.  In Mexican cooking, the chicken is taken off the bone and shredded so that  it can go into tacos, but I prefer it like this. 

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 1 hour soaking time | Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes

SERVES

Six

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 chipotle chillies
  • 1½ tbsp oil (groundnut or olive, whichever you prefer)
  • 12 chicken thighs, skin on or off, as you like
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1kg tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • ½ tbsp soft dark-brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250g chorizo, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 150ml chicken stock

To serve:

  • fresh coriander leaves
  • 200ml sour cream
  • 100g cheese such as Lancashire, Wensleydale or feta (a bit saltier), grated or crumbled 
  • 2 ripe avocados, chopped
  • lime wedges

METHOD

  1. Pour just enough boiling water over the chipotle chillies to cover them, and leave to soak for an hour. 
  2. Heat the oil in a large casserole and brown the chicken thighs on both sides. Do this in batches so that you don’t crowd the pan, and season as you go. Transfer the browned thighs to a dish.
  3. Add the onion to the fat in the pan and sauté it over a medium heat, until it becomes soft.
  4. Add the tomato and fry, stirring frequently, until it is really soft and becoming a little scorched. Add the sugar, cumin and garlic with seasoning. Keep stirring and cooking until the mixture is completely soft. 
  5. Drain the chipotles. Remove the stems, chop the chillies finely and add them to the tomato mixture.
  6. Cook the chorizo in a separate frying pan, using the oil that seeps out of it as it cooks. You just want to get a bit of colour on the outside. 
  7. Add the chorizo to the tomato mixture along with the chicken, oregano, bay leaves and stock. Bring the mixture up to a boil then immediately turn down the heat. 
  8. Cover and cook for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. The sauce, by the end, should be quite thick, so you may need to remove the lid in the last 10 minutes or so. Season. 
  9. Scatter with coriander. Serve with sour cream, cheese, avocado and lime, with rice or tortilla chips on the side.

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