Mexican Pork Tinga (Tinga Poblana) is a traditional dish featuring shredded or cubed pork cooked in a delicious tomato sauce made with chipotle chiles. This recipe is relatively easy to make and perfect for feeding a crowd. Chipotle chiles are mandatory to make this delightful Mexican pork tinga recipe.
What is Tinga?
Tinga is a stew made with shredded meat, tomato sauce, chipotle chile, and spices.
During the colonial period, cooks in the state of Puebla, Mexico, invented the tingas, which are a true marriage between Spain and Mexico.
Using a mixture of European and Mexican foods with a European cooking method, tinga became one of the most popular dishes in Mexico.
Tinga can be made with all kinds of meat like chicken (pollo), beef (res), or pork (puerco) in a spicy, smoky sauce made with tomatoes, chiles, Chipotle in adobo, and lots of onions.
In the Diccionario de Aztequismos, “tinga” is a colloquial term that translates as “vulgar” or “disorder”. I don’t know about vulgar, but for sure I love this tasty “disorder”! :- )
What is Tinga Poblana?
Tinga Poblana is a stew made with shredded pork cooked in tomato sauce and smoked chipotle chiles. We could easily translate it as Pork tinga or Pork in Tomato and chipotle chile sauce. This traditional dish comes from Puebla, Mexico, the fourth largest city in Mexico.
Puebla has a brilliant, rich cuisine and this tinga poblana is one of the most popular recipes served in this region. On every restaurant menu in Puebla, you will find tostadas de tinga or fried crisp tortillas topped with this savory dish. It also serves as a main dish and goes very well with white Mexican rice.
It is also an excellent filling for tortas, sandwiches, and tacos.
If you know me, I love Mexican food, and I have many recipes on the blog that I cook very often. Tingas are easy to make and versatile. They are perfect for feeding a crowd and relatively economical to make, as they use simple ingredients that are staples in Mexican cuisine.
One of my favorite tinga recipes is Chicken tinga or tinga de pollo, which is traditional in Mexico City.
What ingredients go into pork tinga (tinga poblana)?
Pork is the traditional meat in tinga poblana. Look for pork shoulder or any pork meat that is good for a stew. You can use beef or chicken if you want to skip the pork.
New potatoes are fantastic in this dish. If I had to choose a different type of potato, I would go for a red skin potato or a waxy potato, as they are lower in starch and hold their shape better.
- Mexican Chorizo
Mexican chorizo is easy to find in most grocery stores. You can buy pork or beef chorizo, but for this dish, in particular, go with pork.
The pork is the popular one, and the meat in this sausage is chopped, not ground. It is seasoned and stuffed into casings made from the pig’s small intestines.
When you cook the chorizo, you need to remove the skin, crumble the meat and cook it over low heat until the fat renders out.
Note: Mexican chorizo is NOT the same as Spanish chorizo. Spanish chorizo is a cured sausage, and the main ingredient besides pork meat is sweet or smoked paprika. Mexican chorizo has chopped or ground pork or beef; you have to cook it, as the meat inside is raw.
- Onions and garlic
The white onions are more popular in Mexico than the yellow onions. These onions are sweeter and milder in taste than yellow onions. Garlic is used for flavor, as in most stews. It is an important ingredient.
For easier cooking, use canned fire-roasted tomatoes; unless you want to roast your tomatoes, peel and dice them. The canned fire tomatoes do the same job and save time.
- Chipotle chiles
Chipotle or Chilpotle chiles are jalapeño peppers that were dried and smoked. You will find them in cans, packed in a creamy adobo sauce. Adobo sauce is a tangy, smoky, and slightly sweet sauce made with chili peppers, spices, and vinegar. In this recipe, we will use both the canned peppers and the adobo sauce.
Note: Without Chipotle peppers, this dish is no longer a tinga. This ingredient is the one that makes this dish or breaks it.
Lard is the traditional fat used in this recipe. However, the lard police will not punish you if you use bacon fat(aka lard) or vegetable oil. I like using lard in cooking, and I am not afraid of it, so I always have a little jar hidden in the back of the refrigerator.
Note: I would not waste the olive oil to make this dish because we live in difficult times, and olive oil is expensive.
- Spices and herbs
Mexican oregano is my choice in this recipe. If you do not know what Mexican oregano is, this article will explain the difference between Mexican oregano and the regular one.
Bay leaves are used in this recipe to flavor the pork meat while cooking. They are used in many cuisines and pair very well with meat.
Avocado is the traditional ingredient used in garnishing tinga poblana. We will chop or slice it and add it on top of the dish when served.
Queso fresco is traditional here. You can find it in many grocery stores, and it is a white, slightly salty cheese, very delicious. It is used crumbled as a topping for tacos, tostadas, and stews.
You can replace the queso fresco with mild feta or fresh goat cheese.
How to make pork tinga
Cook the meat: In a medium saucepan, place the pork, salt, oregano/marjoram, and bay leaves. Cover with water and bring the pot to a boil.
Skim the foam that rises to the top after a few minutes of simmering. Cover the pot partially and simmer over low heat until meat is tender, for about 35-40 minutes. Remove the meat, strain the liquid, and reserve one cup of it. Set aside.
Cook the potatoes: While the meat is cooking, place another saucepan on the stove with water, salt, and the potatoes. Boil them for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes and set them aside.
Cook the chorizo: In a large skillet(about 12 inches), heat the lard or the vegetable oil. Add the chorizo and brown it, breaking up any clumps, until cooked, for about 10 minutes. Remove the chorizo, leaving as much fat as possible in the skillet. Set it aside.
Make the sauce: In the same skillet, using the fat from the chorizo, cook the onions and garlic until soft. Add the cooked pork and fry, frequently stirring, until the pork gets browned, for about 10 minutes.
Add the cans of tomatoes, chorizo, oregano, salt, and the Chipotle chiles. Stir to combine, then add the cooked potatoes and the reserved cup of liquid from cooking the pork. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring gently once in a while. The sauce should be thick.
Your tinga poblana should look something like this:
Serve: When ready to serve, place the stew in a large bowl and decorate it with slices of avocado and crumbled fresh cheese or queso fresco.
Questions and answers related to the recipe
Place the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 5 days. Reheat them gently on the stove or microwave and serve them with fresh tortillas, avocados, and queso fresco.
Yes, you can. Place it in a freezer container and freeze it for up to three months. Thaw the pork tinga in the fridge overnight, then reheat it on the stove or in the microwave.
Yes, pork tinga tacos are excellent. Here is how to make them:
Warm up the tortillas first. Heat the tortillas on a warmed pan, and cover them with a clean towel.
Mash up an avocado, spread some on a warm tortilla, place pork tinga on top and garnish everything with diced onions, lime juice, some cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco. Yum!
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Mexican Pork Tinga (Tinga Poblana)
To cook the meat:
- 2 pounds boneless pork for stew cut into 2 inch pieces
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon oregano or marjoram
- ½ teaspoon salt
To cook the potatoes:
- 4-5 new potatoes medium size, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
- Water to boil them
- 1 teaspoon salt
To make the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard
- 1 pound Mexican chorizo with the casing removed
- 1-2 medium onions chopped or sliced Julienne
- 2 garlic cloves
- 28 ounces crushed or diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 2-3 canned Chipotle chiles diced plus 1-2 teaspoons of the canning liquid, for more spice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1-2 medium avocados sliced or chopped
- 1 ½ cup queso fresco crumbled
- Cook the meat: In a medium saucepan, place the meat, salt, oregano/marjoram and the bay leaves. Cover with water and bring the pot to a boil. Skim the foam that rises to the top after a few minutes of simmering. Cover the pot partially and simmer over low heat until meat is tender, for about 35-40 minutes. Remove the meat, strain the liquid and reserve one cup of it. Set aside.
- Cook the potatoes: While the meat is cooking, place another sauce pan on the stove with water, salt and the potatoes. Boil them for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain the potatoes and set them aside.
- Cook the chorizo: In a large skillet(about 12 inches), heat up the lard or the vegetable oil. Add the chorizo and brown it, breaking up any clumps, until cooked through, for about 10 minutes. Remove the chorizo, leaving as much fat as possible in the skillet. Set is aside.
- Make the sauce: In the same skillet, using the fat from the chorizo, cook the onions and garlic until soft. Add the cooked pork and fry stirring frequently until the pork gets browned, for about 10 minutes. Add the cans of tomatoes, chorizo, oregano, salt and the Chipotle chiles. Stir to combine, then add the cooked potatoes and the reserved cup of liquid from cooking the pork. The sauce should be thick. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, stirring gently once in a while.
- Serve: When ready to serve, place the stew in a large bowl and decorate it with slices of avocado and crumbled fresh cheese or queso fresco.
Web Story: Tinga Poblana