Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Turkey Thing: Tinga Poblana de Pavo

One of the classics of Mexican cuisine is Tinga Poblana. Cafe Tacuba in Mexico City was my introduction to the tinga and I've been trying to get this taste experience back ever since. Maybe it was the atmosphere of the place, but the food tasted more authentic somehow.

This dish has been adopted all over the country, with infinite variations. However, there are a couple of constants; chipotle peppers and chorizo. These core ingredients provide a depth to the dish that is vital. I used shredded turkey meat instead of pork for this dish. Seeing that the indigenous Mexican cultures have been raising and eating the guajolote (turkey) for centuries, I think this is a legitimate substitute. I also substituted canned tomatoes for fire roasted fresh tomatoes. Sorry, I was in a hurry.

So here it is, my latest, greatest stab at this dish.

Tinga Poblana de Pavo (Serves 4)
2 slices of thick-cut bacon
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1/2 a link of Mexican chorizo
1/4 tsp. of ground pepper
1/4 tsp. of ground cumin powder
1-14 oz. can of diced tomato
2 chiles chipotle in adobo, diced
1 stick of cinnamon
4 cloves
2 cups of shredded turkey (dark meat)
3 tbls. brown sugar (piloncillo if you have it)
2 tbls. cider vinegar
2 tsps adobo sauce (from can of chipotles)
salt to taste

Start out by frying up the chopped bacon, just until it starts crisping. Set it aside on a paper towel and drain off most of the fat from the pan. Leave just enough fat to saute the onions and garlic until they are soft, about 2 minutes.

Take off the casing of the chorizo and add it to the pan. With a wooden spoon start breaking up the chorizo and cook it for about 3-4 minutes stirring frequently. (Note: I use pork chorizo that isn't too fatty, if your chorizo isn't lean, you might want to start it off in another pan to render off some of the excess fat.) Add the bacon back into the pan and add the pepper and cumin. Cook 2 more minutes.Now add the tomatoes, diced chipotles, cinnamon, and cloves. (Note: if you use fresh roasted tomatoes, you might need to add a 1/2 cup of chicken stock to have enough liquid for this step.) Cook this at a low simmer for about 15 minutes, partially covered, stirring every 5 minutes.Add the turkey meat, sugar, vinegar, and adobo sauce. Bring back to a simmer and cook covered for another 10 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt accordingly.Here's what your tinga will look like, notice it isn't dry, it has a nice red sauce. You can adjust the amount of extra adobo sauce that you add based on your tolerance for heat.

You can dress this dish up or down, depending on what type of meal you are preparing for. It's really good as a taco filling. Heat up some corn tortillas and throw some cilantro and red onions on top with a splash of lime. Casual but a nice step up from basic carne asada.

We decided to plate this up with white rice and trimmings. I had thinly sliced some red onion and left it for an hour in a glass bowl with some white wine vinegar and a little sugar. We sliced some avocado and chopped up some cilantro and key-limes. Plate this all together and warm up some tortillas, your set. We accompanied this with some Mexican-style lager from Del Norte brewing of Denver, perfect!

Buen Provecho!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome dish. I don't often comment, but since this is the third annual "Thanksgiving Leftovers" party
I am hosting based on this recipe I think I owe you a great deal of thanks. By the way, one of the yearly attendees is from the state of Oaxaca, and she loves it!
Thank you!