It’s a Cinco de Mayo dilemma and we’re not saying you have to choose. But, gun to your head / your loved one is held hostage by the Joker and Batman is busy crushing his rear delts at the gym, what do you choose? Taco or sandwich?
Would you give up tacos, making Tuesdays worth living since the 18th Century (according to a quick Google search), or would you give up sandwiches, the go-to handheld lunch for 43 American presidents?
Ha! Trick question. You let Joker blow up your friend and you take that bullet like a man. Both are essential to everyday life and, we dare say, survival. They’re the perfect food: meat, wrapped or bookended with delicious, delicious carbs, and sauced with anything and everything! Oh man, and we haven’t even talked about how customizable they are. Love tomatoes? Stack ‘em up! Hate pickles, get ‘em the f*** outta here. It’s perfect.
The point is: individually, there is likely no better way to meal.
But what if we told you the lines can be blurred? What if we told you that a sandwich and a taco had too many tequila shots and made some spicy mistakes? What if we told you that mistake was the best mistake in culinary history? Well, here we are telling you just that.
Enter the Tinga Torta; aka The Best Sandwich to Ever Touch a Plate; aka The Mexican Love Child; aka What You’ll Dream About for a Week After You Eat It.
And you know what? We’re going to teach you how to make this glory. You’re welcome.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this masterpiece:
1 ½ lbs boneless chicken tenders
½ quart chicken stock
1 tbs cornstarch
½ tsp cumin (x2)
½ tsp salt
1 ½ garlic cloves
½ cup chipotle peppers, pureed
¼ cup shredded lettuce
1 ripe avocado
2 jalapeños (one pickled and one fresh)
1 yellow onion
3 roma tomatoes
Large spoonful of tomato paste
The heart of the Tinga Torta is chicken tinga, so pay attention. In a big pot, place the chicken, chicken stock, cumin, salt, ¼ cup of yellow onion, two halved roma tomatoes, garlic, and ½ of the fresh jalapeño, diced. Bring all that to a boil. Once the pot starts to look like the pre-game party for Pompeii, drop it down to low heat and let it simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Once the chicken is done, pull those tenders out with a pair of tongs and set aside to cool. If you don’t have tongs in your kitchen, you should be ashamed of yourself. As punishment, reach in with your bare hands and suffer the consequences. Once the chicken has cooled, or your hands have healed, shred ‘em up. Don’t your dare throw that stock out — you’ll need it later.
Once you’re done shredding (and, yes, it was hard to avoid a Ninja Turtle reference here, but we held steadfast), you’re going to grease a large sauté pan — feel free to use bacon grease, or for health nuts not in the South… turkey bacon grease? — and sauté another ¼ cup of onion until soft. From there, add the shredded chicken, chipotle pepper puree, and about an ounce or two of the leftover chicken stock from the pot. Cook on low for a few minutes and then cut the heat and set aside. Now you’re ready to get saucy.
That saucy joke was stupid, but it happened and we need to move on from it. Let’s make some tinga sauce. In a pot, sauté ¼ cup of onion until soft and then add the rest of the stock you used to cook the chicken in, followed by the tomato paste. Bring to a boil, lower the head and let simmer for about five minutes.
Next, add the cornstarch and about 1 tbs of water and cook for another five to seven minutes. Add the rest of the cumin and salt to the pot and puree with a handheld mixer or blender. Strain that beautiful red sauce through wire mesh and look forward to getting your bread dunk on.
Now is your time to shine. You’ve shredded, you’ve sautéed, you’ve strained, you’ve potentially subjected yourself to third-degree burns because you wanted to save $8 on your bill by not getting tongs the last time you went to the store. Now is your time to sandwich.
Grab that beautiful hoagie you picked up from the store, and throw it in the oven until it’s all crispy and sexy. Slather both sides of the hoagie with some mayo, and start stacking the lettuce, chicken, avocado, pickled jalapeños, some raw yellow onion, and tomatoes. If you’re looking to shake up the order, by all means, but you’re wrong.
Here’s the fun part: pour your sauce into a bowl and cut the torta in half. You there? Great. Now stand those beautiful, breaded glories up in the sauce and marvel as the red-orange, liquid jewels osmose into your freshly crisped bread and try not to take a bite before you sit down.
Once you’ve come out of your eight-hour, better-than-LSD, post-torta euphoria, reality will hit you pretty hard. We’re sorry to say that’s the truth. But no worries, our dear humans, we have three solutions to help mitigate the emptiness you’re feeling:
Make another one.
Try another one of our recipes, coming very soon.
Make two more.
Some say we’re culinary poets. We don’t even know what that means… we just like fantastic sandwiches.
Note: Of course we know what “culinary poets” means, you goon. And, sure, we’ll take the moniker. All day, errday!
Happy Cinco, you beautiful humans!