Recipe: Tinga de pollo (chicken in chipotle-tomato sauce)
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes, plus cooling time
Note: In Mexico City, you can find chipotles in a spicy-sweet piloncillo adobo, which is what I used here. If you're using a different variety, start with one teaspoon and work your way up. Before serving, soak the thin white onion slices in cold water at least 15 minutes.
1 pound chicken breasts, bone-in, skin removed
1 bay leaf
1 small unpeeled clove garlic, plus 1 clove minced garlic, divided
1/4 small white onion, plus 1 cup chopped white onion, divided, plus thin white onion slices for serving
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored, seeded and chopped
4 teaspoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo (see note), plus more adobo sauce for serving
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 cup chicken broth
12 packaged tostadas, or corn tortillas cooked until crisp on a comal
1 cup Mexican crema
1 avocado, sliced into slivers
1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
1. In a large saucepan, place the chicken breasts and add enough water to cover. Add the bay leaf, unpeeled garlic clove and small chunk of onion and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. Set the pan aside until the chicken has cooked all the way through, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken to a bowl, and set aside until cool enough to handle, then shred the meat with your fingers or a fork.
2. In a skillet heated over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook until aromatic, 15 to 30 seconds. Add the tomato, cooking until pieces break down and become a thick, chunky paste, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the shredded chicken, then add the chipotle, oregano and chicken broth, and season with three-fourths teaspoon salt, or to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer about 10 minutes to thicken slightly and marry the flavors. Taste, and add more salt if desired. This makes about 2 cups of tinga de pollo.
4. To serve the tostadas, slather a thin layer of crema on each tortilla. (For more amped-up chipotle flavor, mix a little of the adobo sauce in the crema.) Add a few spoonfuls of tinga, the slices of white onion and two slivers of avocado. Top with crumbled cotija cheese.