Recipe: Tinga

Mexican chicken with potato for 6 people

Note: Tinga is more than just a recipe. It is the social backbone of Hispanic Chicago. Wherever you find Hispanics who must put together a quick potluck, you will find tostadas and tinga. One person brings tostadas, another chicken, then, depending on how many people are in the class,  lettuce, tomato, crumbled cheese for sprinkling, or salsa. Then you can start to add salads (tuna, napoles, or guacamole), soda, napkins, plastic forks, (if you don’t already have these squirreled away in a file drawer under your grammar books) or for a really special occasion, even tres leches cake. Be careful how you pronounce it though; “chinga” is the Mexican f-word.

This is the last of the end-of-semester recipes; I suppose eventually they will be added to the classroom blog.  If anyone hasn’t noticed, yes, this teaches students the imperative, and yes, they are very motivated to work together to describe the process, get the exact right word for the recipe (we had a huge discussion about “shred” and “grate” for separating the chicken), and copy the recipes in English. In one three or four hour class you can usually do a regular lesson (some students won’t show up if it’s billed as just a party) plus eating, plus two recipes–the students have never been shy about saying which one they want.

1 chicken breast
1 onion
1 lb. tomato (about 5 small tomatoes), chopped in small pieces ½” or less
chipotle pepper (small can–this is not the “chipotle sauce”)
3 or 4 potatoes, cut in small pieces (raw, not cooked)
chorizo (Mexican sausage)
served on tortilla or tostada

boil chicken breast in water
put oil in pan
chop onion
put onion in pan, fry about 3 minutes
add tomato and chipotle pepper
cook until brown
add potato and cook about 15 minutes until potato is soft
in another pan, fry chorizo, separate into pieces with spoon, remove the grease
add chorizo to potato mixture
shred the chicken with your fingers, add to mixture
add salt to taste

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