Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ole! Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With Spicy Pork Tinga Tacos...

This Thursday is Cinco de Mayo, which is a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride...and it's also a great excuse to cook and eat some yummy Mexican food!! I live in San Antonio, a city that's known for its large Hispanic population. Because of this rich culture, Cinco de Mayo is a big celebration here. I whipped up a batch of yummy pork tinga to make tacos this weekend, and it would be a FANTASTIC recipe to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Although my version was cooked using a Dutch oven variation, Rick Bayless's original recipe uses a crockpot, which allows the meat mixture to cook while you're at work!

Rick Bayless is one of my favorite chefs. I've been fortunate enough to eat at his Frontera Grill in Chicago -- twice! The food there is so fantastic that you happily deal with the 2-hour wait for a table. I have several of his cookbooks in my collection, and his recipes always come out great. This pork tinga is no exception. It's made with pork shoulder, potatoes, and chipotle chile. For less than $20 worth of ingredients, you get enough food to feed a crowd, and it's amazingly delicious!! I've been eyeing this recipe for a few weeks and made it this weekend while we had family in town visiting. I tweaked it a bit for our tastes, and we all thought it was really tasty. 

Spicy Pork Tinga Tacos
adapted from Rick Bayless Everyday Mexican

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350. Cut 2 lbs. pork shoulder into 1-inch cubes. Place in the bottom of a Dutch oven.

Step 2:  Peel and dice 1 lb. red or Yukon Gold potatoes. I used red potatoes, and they worked really well. Layer on top of the pork. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add two bay leaves on top. Dice a medium white onion and layer on top of the potatoes.

Step 3:  In a large bowl combine the following ingredients: 28-ounces of fire-roasted tomatoes (drained), 1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. Mexican oregano, 1 seeded and diced canned chipotle chile, 1 tbs. of the chipotle sauce in the can, and 3-4 finely minced or grated garlic cloves. Stir to combine and pour on top of the onions. DON'T STIR! Cover and bake for 2.5 hours. 

Step 4: Remove the pork tinga from the oven, remove the lid, and top with 4 ounces of browned and crumbled chorizo sausage. The chorizo is optional, but it really gives a nice depth of flavor to the finished product! Stir to combine, being careful not to break up the potatoes. The tinga had quite a bit of liquid left after baking, so I reduced it on med-high heat until most of the excess liquid was reduced and the tinga was thickened.

Step 5:  To serve, spoon some of the tinga onto a double layer of white corn tortillas. Per Rick Bayless, the traditional way they're served in Puebla is with diced avocado and queso fresco. A good substitute is dry, not-too-salty feta or crumbled goat cheese. I used feta this time since I couldn't get my hands on any queso fresco.

Man, is this pork tinga delish! The pork, tomatoes, chipotle, and potatoes were a perfect combination of flavors. We thought that one chipotle, the canning sauce, and the spicy chorizo gave it just the right amount of kick, but you can use up to four chipotles in adobo if you like your food REALLY spicy!

To make the tinga in a crockpot, simply layer the ingredients in the following order: potatoes, onion, pork, and the tomato mixture. Do not stir. Cover and cook on HIGH for six hours. The tinga can wait using the crockpot's "keep warm" function for up to four hours. Start this dish before you leave for work Thursday, and you'll come home to a wonderful smell in your kitchen...and a Cinco de Mayo feast ready to eat! Which leaves you time to whip up some sangria or a margarita to go with these yummy pork tinga tacos!!


  1. YUM! This is a meal I would definitely invite myself over to dinner for. It looks amazing :) I have a stupid question: Why not stir at step 3?

  2. @Celeste: I'm not exactly sure. The recipe says to layer it before baking and then to stir at the end, so I went with that.

  3. Wow, I've never heard of this dish...but I'm always looking for yummy new ways to utilize pork...and this is surely a delicious option! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. They sure look appetizing! Can;t wait making some for my family! Thanks for sharing!

  5. What a great recipe! I bet that's good with rice too. I will definitely make this.

  6. @Adora - This can easily be eaten over rice like a stew. Maybe add a bit of lime and cilantro to the rice. I would reduce it a bit less for that so it's more saucy. I reduced it for tacos so it would be less messy.

  7. Congrats on winning my MexiCajun Seasoning giveaway!!!!

  8. These look so good! We made breakfast tacos. Found your wonderful blog on foodbuzz & am your newest follower!
    - Jessica @ http://cajunlicious.com

  9. @Jessica - Welcome! Lousiana is one of my favorite places...got engaged in NOLA!

    @Spiceblogger - Awesome...can't WAIT to try it!!!

  10. MMM!!! I'm envious that you ate in Bayless' Grill!! Oh, how I would love to join you!
    We would eat Cinco do Mayo-like each and every day if we could, this will fit right into our menu. Nicely done, Wendy!
    BTW, my daughter saw the soda machine you had a few weeks back. I didn't enter that one on purpose and she would have gone absolutely crazy with it, she loves soda like I love Mexican food. We've been seeing them in the store all over the place now and she never hesitates to remind me that "Wendy has one of those... and WE don't!"

  11. @Kim - We're back to Chicago in July, and we're going to try Topolo, his other restaurant, this time...so excited!!

  12. I LOVE mexican food so Cinco de Mayo was the perfect excuse to eat lots. Ha! This looks so good. Thx for linking to Saturday Swap!!


I love hearing your feedback!!!