September 3, 2009

Chipotle Pork Tinga Tacos

tinga tacos 013

I heart Rick Bayless. He has been considered by many to be the greatest contribution to Mexican cuisine. Frankly, I agree. If you study his approach to Mexican food, the ingredients, the preparation, its origin – you can understand his deep respect and desire to honor the integrity of the cuisine. Watching him most recently on Top Chef Masters, he is a man that considers every minute detail in a dish. Every ingredient and technique is meticulously planned and executed. In his books, his explanations on how to prepare each dish are excellent and detailed. It’s a shame that I have not attempted more of his amazing recipes, because the bottom line is: each one is great.

And these tacos are no exception. They’re not just great – they’re awesome. The potatoes soften and create a creamy texture, and the pork shreds into tender, flavorful bites. The chipotles and tomatoes have merged into a smoky, spicy, flavorful sauce that coats everything. Wrapped in a tortilla and topped with the cool guacamole and cheese, it’s an explosion of flavors in your mouth.

What’s even better, with a little prep before placing into the slow cooker, they take virtually no time to throw together once you get home from work. Great for a busy weeknight; even a night when the whole family can’t sit down together to eat due to soccer practices, band rehearsals, etc. The slow cooker can simply keep the taco filling warm for everyone to eat when they have time.

So stop considering swinging by the “Golden Arches” or that “Terrible-Excuse-for-Mexican” fast-food place (you know, the one with the bell) to feed the family, and throw together some homemade, delicious tinga tacos. You’ll be glad you did.

Chipotle Pork Tinga Tacos, adapted from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday

1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces

One 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes

4 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and chopped

1 T chipotle canning sauce (the sauce from the can of chipotle chiles in adobo)

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1 t dried Mexican oregano

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 t salt

4 oz fresh Mexican chorizo sausage (bulk, or if in casings, casings removed)

Warmed corn tortillas

1 c crumbled Mexican queso fresco or feta

Guacamole

Spread the potatoes over the bottom of a slow cooker and top with the pork. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes with the chipotles, canning sauce, Worcestershire, oregano, garlic, and salt. Pour the mixture evenly over the meat and potatoes. Cover and turn the slow cooker on high for 6 hours (I turned it on low for about 11).

When you are ready to eat, fry the chorizo in a medium skillet until thoroughly done, about 4-5 minutes. Uncover the pork tinga and spoon off any fat that has accumulated on top. Sprinkle on the chorizo, and stir everything together, breaking the pork into smaller pieces. Taste and season with additional salt if it needs it. Serve with the tortillas, crumbled fresh cheese and guacamole. Serves 8.

40 Responses to “Chipotle Pork Tinga Tacos”

  1. Ohhh… these tacos look amazing! And I love the color. The guacamole looks so fresh. Rick Bayless is amazing, I agree. He has such an enthusiasm for cooking and ingredients, and I love how he seems to really enjoy sharing that knowledge with others.

    • Wasabi Prime – yes, I agree on his enjoyment of sharing knowledge. He seems to be a genuine teacher. Love watching him.

  2. Beautiful picture!!! I don’t eat pork, but I might try this with chicken (and without the cheese or sausage)… Looks delicious!

  3. Mmmm…. I totally agree with you about Rick Bayless. These look awesome. For non-meat eaters, Field Roast meats makes an AMAZING meatless chorizo sausage, so everyone can enjoy this recipe! (I don’t know how Bayless would feel about that but … oh well.) The photo here is beautiful, by the way.

    • Alexa – Rick Bayless even suggests chicken as an alternative. I imagine chicken thighs would be best, as they have so much more flavor!

      Tasty Trix – never tried Field Roast meats, but thanks for the tip! If they’re tasty, then I say, go for it! I bet you could also do a vegetarian riff on this recipe with some mixed dried beans, maybe a black bean and a red bean? (Of course, you’d have to add water…) I love to do beans in the slow cooker…just a thought!

  4. Yum!!! I heart Rick Bayless, too. There’s just something to him that just love.

    Awesome tacos, I don’t eat pork too much but I still like the little piggies once in a while. Nice to know that you can use chicken as a substitute.

  5. I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any more cookbooks now that my bookshelf is jam packed, but I may have to make an exception for this one. I’m pretty sure that I’ve heard someone talk about it daily for the last few weeks. I also loved Rick on Top Chef, particularly after his gluten-free dish. I really want to make his tamales, but this looks fabulous too (and easier!)

    • Katie, you won’t be sorry that you purchased any Rick Bayless cookbook! May I also recommend Mexico: One Plate at a Time? This cookbook includes lots of wonderful, traditionally-prepared Mexican dishes…not the fast-and-easy kind, but so delicious they’re worth the effort.

  6. Oooh, those tacos look SO good!

  7. I LOVE using the slow cooker for pork! The meat always comes out so tender and juicy! YUM!

  8. That looks so good, I love slow cooker pork shoulder. Great recipe, thanks for posting. And who can eat that yucko bell stuff. Yuck! makes me gag, what surprises me is how many mexicans love that place. Very strange, guess caise its cheap.

  9. Rick Bayless is one of my favs also. Probably the main reason I got so into cooking Mexican. Good looking gauce btw :) Homemade?

  10. I made this recipe a few weeks ago and was blown away! Our family tends to eat at the taqueria more than the fast food places and this was so easy and delicious! Great choice!

  11. Yum! Hard to resist.Absolutely delicious.

  12. I love to watch Rick Bayless. His food always sounds delicious and his explanations are so helpful and truly honor the history of the food. I’ll have to look for his cookbook… Thanks for sharing this recipe! :)

  13. Que ricura… These look amazing, great job! :)

  14. I have one of Rick Bayless’ cookbooks and every recipe that I’ve tried has been a winner! These tacos look absolutely incredible.

  15. Rick Bayless is the king of Mexican—I heart him too.
    I am now craving an iced cold margarita to go along with these mouthwatering tacos.

    • Debi, that’s funny that you mention a margarita – I was craving an ice cold beer to accompany these! A margarita would be delicious as well.

  16. Great recipe:) It’s a bit different then the Tinga I’ve had but still sounds yummy. Have you ever had Tinga Tostadas?, they are really good. Which reminds me I need to this for my blog.
    Keep up the mouthwatering cooking and beautiful photographs:)!
    Cheers

    • Nancy, never tried Tinga Tostadas, sounds yummy! I’m guessing basically they are the tinga ingredients on a crunchy tostada shell? That could get addictive!

  17. I really shouldn’t be looking at these tacos because I am hungry as a I type this! but holy moly those tacos look so yummy and I can taste all of the flavors and spices going on here

  18. oh wow these look wonderful great job and lovely pic Rebecca

  19. I am saving this recipe.. It looks fantastic…

    By the way, thank you for the comment about my sauce.

  20. This recipe is going on my Must Make ASAP and the book is going on my Must Buy ASAP list! Great post and a beautiful pic–

  21. Those tacos look so tasty!

  22. Those look and sound amazing! Saving this recipe :)

  23. You had me at Rick Bayless!! I love that cookbook!!! His restaurant, Frontera Grill, is honestly the BEST I have ever had.

    • Diana – You know, my husband and I visited Frontera Grill about a year and a half ago when we were visiting Chicago. I was so excited to be eating there. Well, much to my disappointment, my dish was not good. Someone had totally over-salted the dish, so much I could not eat it. My husband ordered the same dish, and while his was salty, it was not nearly as bad as mine. I totally forgive Rick Bayless and would definitely visit that restaurant again – as I believe that a mistake must have been made in the kitchen that day. And to their credit, they did not charge me for that dish, and apologized. Obviously, my situation was not the norm, or there wouldn’t be such a long line every evening to enter that restaurant! And of course, I still heart Rick Bayless!

  24. I really loved Top Chef Masters too! I have a Mojo marinade at home, some frozen pork, and left tortillas. I think you’ve inspired me to make a version of this at home. Gracias mi amiga! :)

  25. Thank you for giving Rick credit! He is my favorite chef and I cook him all the time. I have on more than one occasion searched the web for this recipe to give to friends as it is one of my favorites. I cannot believe how many people post this was their own. I’m certain it happens all the time with lots of recipes, but I still cannot believe someone would post this without crediting the mastery that is Rick Bayless!

    • David – Thank you. I hope to always give credit where it is due, even if a recipe simply inspired mine, and I didn’t follow the original that closely. But with someone like Rick Bayless – I hardly stray from the original, his food is always so delicious!

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  28. Just the smell alone has me stalkin’ the slow cooker. Sadly, I started it about 3:30 so it’s a late dinner tonight but I am tempted to crack it open a bit early ;)

  29. Hi there! Thanks so much (to you and Rick Bayless ;)) for this recipe — I served it up to friends earlier this month, rave reviews all around! I put in a smidge of tomato paste to add a bit of body, but otherwise stuck to the script. Thanks again!

  30. I totally agree…I heart Rick Bayless, as well. I made these from his cookbook and they have become a STAPLE meal in our house. They have a really amazing flavor and are super easy to make. Thanks for the picture of them! I was just putting them in my “keeper” recipe file and was thrilled to have such a great picture to go with the recipe!

  31. One of the recipe ingredients has me perplexed. What is chipotle canning sauce?

    • Laurie,

      Thanks for catching that. I’ll update it to be more clear. In canned chipotle chiles en adobo, there is a lot of sauce. That’s the canning sauce I’m referring to. I like to spoon a bit in certain recipes to add more flavor – it’s still spicy, but not as much as if I would have added another pepper.

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