Tostadas de Tinga
When I was up in New York about a weekend ago, I ate with my aunt and cousin at a great Mexican restaurant called La
Puerta Azul. I had the Tostadas de Tinga, which were great tiny tostadas with my ideal kind of seasoned chicken topping. It was shredded chicken stewed in tomatoes and chilis and would be great for tacos or burritos, not to mention tostadas. As luck would have it, my aunt had a few copies of the cookbook and sent me home with one. Soon after I got back I made the tostadas and we really loved them. It will be my go-to chicken for Mexican dishes from now on. This makes 6 cups of chicken, and you can get at least 18 tostadas out of it. Enough for a few meals.
For the chicken tinga:
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves, crushed
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 chipotle pepper en adobo, or 1 t ground chipotle
2 T vegetable oil
2 white onions, cut into slivers
1 T minced fresh garlic
3 tomatoes, diced (about 3 cups)
1 t ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
For the tostadas:
1 15 oz can refried beans, warmed
Chile de Arbol salsa, or other red salsa
Fresh cilantro leaves
Crumbled queso fresco or shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
18 corn tortillas, fried or toasted
Add chicken breads to a medium or large skillet and cover with water. Add whole garlic coves, 2 thyme sprigs and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 20-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken breasts from broth and let them cool until they can be handled, then shred into small pieces and set aside. Reserve the chicken broth.
Puree the chipotle pepper with 1/2 c of the reserved broth and set aside. If using ground chipotle, skip this step.
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the thyme leaves from the remaining 6 stalks of thyme, cumin and either the chipotle puree or the teaspoon of ground chipotle. Bring to a simmer and add the shredded chicken, and enough broth that the mixture is slightly soupy- you want about 1/4″ of broth in the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. The liquid should reduce so the chicken is moist, but not wet.
To assemble the tostadas:
Once the chicken is ready, prepare all your toppings by heating the refried beans, shredding the cheese, etc.
Either fry the tortillas in vegetable or corn oil at 350 degrees until crisp, or toast them in a pan by spraying a non-stick skillet with cooking spray, heating to medium high, and toasting tortillas fro about 3-4 minutes on each side until crisp. Spread 2 heaping tablespoons of refried beans on each tostada, and top with chicken (maybe 1/4 c) using a slotted spoon to drain away any excess liquid. Drizzle with salsa and sprinkle with cheese and cilantro.