Tinga de Cerdo

Chipotle-Seasoned Shredded Pork

Puebla is home to some of Mexico’s most classic dishes, including mole poblano, chiles en nogada, and this simpler but singularly tasty tinga, with its complex layers of savory flavors. Ana Elena Martínez, a pastry chef and caterer, as well as my assistant in Mexico, uses it as a main course with arroz blanco or as a filling or topping for the countless antojitos that she makes for her clients. This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled and can be made up to 1 day in advance. Any leftovers can be reheated and used as a topping for tostadas or a filling for quesadillas. Serve with hot corn tortillas preferably freshly made, for making tacos, or spoon over Arroz Blanco.

For the Pork

½ teaspoon sea salt
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ white onion, thickly sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf 

For the Tinga
1 tablespoon canola or safflower oil
½ cup chopped white onion
¼ pound chorizo, homemade or store-bought, removed from its casing and
cut into ¼-inch cubes or crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ripe tomatoes (about 3 medium), roasted and peeled (page 18), or
1 (14½-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
2 chiles chipotles en adobo, chopped, with 2 tablespoons sauce
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1½ teaspoons sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste, if needed
½ teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar

For the Garnish

1 firm but ripe Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and sliced

Serves 4 to 6 with leftovers

FOR THE PORK: Pour 5 cups water into a saucepan, add the salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pork, onion, and garlic and return the water to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. If the meat is not fully submerged, add more water as needed. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the bay leaf, and simmer, uncovered, until the pork istender, about 1 hour.

Remove from the heat, let cool slightly, then scoop the pork into a bowl and set aside. Strain the broth through a finemesh sieve and set aside. If cooking the pork in advance, pour 2 cups of the broth over the meat so that it does not dry out, then cover and refrigerate until needed.

FOR THE TINGA: Heat the oil in a cazuela or large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and fry, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chorizo and continue to fry, stirring frequently,

until well browned, about 10 minutes. Spoon or drain off any excess fat, stir in the garlic, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another few minutes. Add the tomatoes, chiles chipotles and sauce, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper. If the tomatoes are not very red and juicy, add the tomato paste and a little of the broth and stir well. Cover partially and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes. Add some of the broth toward the end of cooking if needed to prevent the mixture from drying out.

While the sauce is simmering, shred the pork using your fingers or two forks. When the sauce is ready, stir in both sugars and the shredded pork and simmer for about 15 minutes so the meat will absorb the sweet and spicy flavor.

Scoop this stewlike pork into a warmed serving dish and garnish with the avocado slices. 

From La Cocina Mexicana: Many Cultures, One Cuisine, by Marilyn Tausend with Ricardo Muñoz Zurita, Published by University of California Press, 2012

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