Tinga is a pop­u­lar stew using a blend of Mex­i­can and Span­ish cook­ing meth­ods. The result is a per­fect mar­riage of spicy, sweet and smoky fla­vors.

Chicken or pork are favored meats used in this tra­di­tional Pueblo dish. Lentils, chick­peas or pota­toes are solid veg­e­tar­ian twists.

Onions and gar­lic are sauteed first. Like most authen­tic Mex­i­can recipes, white onions are pre­ferred. Toma­toes are then added. Fresh toma­toes are used when avail­able and taste great. Vari­ety isn’t really impor­tant.

Oth­er­wise, canned toma­toes are quite suit­able. Good choices dur­ing win­ter months would be to use fire roasted toma­toes, crushed toma­toes or even tomato sauce or tomato paste in a can.

Next comes adding the stock, herbs and spices. Bay leaves, salt, pep­per and Mex­i­can oregano are stan­dard spices used in a tinga. Corian­der, thyme and mar­jo­ram take another culi­nary path.

Chipo­tle chilies in Adobo sauce give the stew a sub­stan­tial kick. Essen­tially, chipo­tles in adobo are smoked and dried jalapeños chiles– rehy­drated and then canned in toma­toes, vine­gar, gar­lic, and spices.

Decide on the heat pref­er­ence before adding a whole can of pep­pery heat. There’s no turn­ing back once they go into the stew pot or slow cooker.

House made chipo­tle chilies are doable, but require more effort. If han­dling chili pep­pers is no prob­lem, look for jalapeños that are firm. The fresher the pep­pers, the bet­ter the result.

The mix­ture is sim­mered long enough to allow all of the ingre­di­ents to meld nicely together. If meat is desir­able, add that to the sim­mer­ing sauce. If not, add legumes or other vegetables.

Pop­u­lar in tacos or on tostadas, serve Tinga with top­pings of choice. Refried or black beans, shred­ded let­tuce, crum­bled cheese, sliced avo­cado and radish are ideal.

Crema, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime com­plete the main dish. Other excel­lent ways to use tinga is to serve it over rice, with eggs or cook­ing greens.

An iron skil­let ver­sion can be made by lay­er­ing corn tor­tillas, shred­ded meats, tinga and top­pings for an oven-​made com­plete fam­ily meal.

Get cre­ative with corn, mango and a host of other pos­si­ble fresh addi­tions. The stew can be frozen, served on bread or rolls for torta sand­wiches or eaten all in one sit­ting. A great crowd-​pleaser, it works well for tail­gate or potluck par­ties.

Spice up din­ner tonight the tinga way!

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