July 2, 2007

Tinga de Pollo y Papas

Rick Bayless...who knew you were such a nebbish?

Last week I had my first chance to watch a few episodes of Mexico-One Plate at a Time on a DVD that a friend lent me and discovered that, although you're a seriously talented and passionate chef, on your show, when you're not cooking, you're kind of awkward and well...dorky.

But who cares!
Your recipes are brilliant and I've loved every single one that I've ever attempted.
Especially, as I like to call them, the knock-you-on-your-ass Margarita recipe that you so innocently call the Top of the Line Margarita. The night I made a pitcher for myself and three of my friends was the infamous evening that will forever be known as "the night we danced with the chihuahua and danced on the dining room chairs until one of us fell off."
It's an excellent recipe. Go ahead, try it. You'll see.
Then, if you remember anything the next day, let me know what you thought.

Mr Bayless, you've done more for my appreciation of the complexity and uniqueness of Mexican cuisine than a hundred trips to Mexico could have done. And I thank you for that.

So, you're kind of a nebbish. So what.
I find it endearing.

The following is taken from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen

Smoky Shredded Chicken and Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes

Tinga de Pollo y Papas
serves 4 as a light main dish (with about 4 cups of finished tinga)


  • 4 medium (1 ½ pounds total) chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 4 medium boiling potatoes (like the red-skin ones)
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • Salt, about ¾ teaspoon
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or pressed, salted farmer's cheese
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 3/8-inch dice
  • 1 recipe Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato Chipotle Sauce (recipe below)


  1. The chicken and potatoes -- Nestle the skinless thighs into the sauce, cover, and set over medium-low heat. Cook for about 25 minutes, until the meat is thoroughly tender. Remove the chicken to a plate, leaving as much sauce as possible in the pan. Cool, then pull the meat from the bones in large shreds; there will be about 2 cups.
  2. With a food processor or hand grater, coarsely shred the potatoes. Squeeze between your hands to remove as much water as possible.
  3. Finishing the dish -- Heat the remaining I tablespoon of the oil over medium-high in a large (10- to 12-inch) nonstick or well-seasoned skillet. Add the onion and potatoes and cook, stirring and scraping up any sticking bits, until well browned, about 15 minutes. Scrape in the sauce and oregano, bring to a boil, stir in the chicken, and heat through, about 2 minutes.
  4. Taste and season with salt.
  5. Scoop the mixture into a warm, deep, decorative serving dish. Sprinkle with cheese, strew with avocado and serve without hesitation.

Advance Preparation: The tinga can be finished a day ahead, cover and refrigerate. Warm in a 400-degree oven, covered with foil, garnish with avocado and cheese, and serve.

Shortcuts: A drained 15-ounce can of tomatoes can replace the roasted fresh ones.

Essential Quick-Cooked Tomato Chipotle Sauce
makes 1 cup


  • 2 stemmed, dried chipotle chiles or canned chipotle chiles en adobo
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 12 ounces (2 medium-small round or 4 to 6 plum) ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil


  1. For dried chiles, toast them on an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat, turning regularly and pressing flat with a spatula until very aromatic, 30 seconds. In a small bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even soaking. Drain and discard the water. (Canned chiles need only be removed from their sauce.)
  2. While the chiles are soaking, roast the unpeeled garlic on the griddle or skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until soft (they will blacken in spots), about 15 minutes; cool and peel. Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on one side, about 6 minutes, then flip and roast the other side. Cool, then peel, collecting all the juices with the tomatoes.
  3. In a food processor or blender, puree the tomatoes and their juices, rehydrated or canned chiles and garlic to a medium-fine puree. Heat I tablespoon of the oil in a heavy, medium (2- to 3-quart) saucepan over medium-high.
  4. Add the puree and stir for about 5 minutes as it sears and thickens.
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1 comment:

wcs said...

I always thought Rick was kind of cute in a weird, nerdy, kind of way.

I used to watch his show in SF before we moved to France. We just got a couple of his books and are exploring them.

By the way, I love the current banner (with the wine glasses and bottle). It's great !