Adapted from Chicken Tinga Recipe from Tacos by Mark Miller
"Tinga" means "messy or unruly" in Spanish. At times my cooking feels this way, but it usually results in a recipe coming out better than expected. We use what we have on hand and take advantage of the season's offerings.
I took a local spin on this recipe and was so glad that I gave it a try. I love the smoky and sweet flavors and it makes use of all of the great mid-summer produce that can be found at the farmers' markets right now.
We had the opportunity to visit Dewberry Hills Farm this past week. Jane and Terry Levan's chicken farm is located in the rolling hills near Lexington, Texas. As we pulled up the drive, The Levans' dogs greeted us much to our son Clay's enjoyment. Clay quickly became friends with their dogs who apparently flock to their home from around the neighborhood as if they are called to the place where animals are respected and cared for. It is also home to two horses and a mischievous mule.
The farm is 10 acres in size and at first glance seems to be a chicken campground with various chicken tents set up on the grounds with mister systems and fans to make sure the chickens stay cool during the hot summer months. The chickens have their share of water, bugs and native grass before moving to the next location on the farm.
Jane inspects every chicken before it leaves the farm to make sure it is up to her high standards. Chefs from around Austin and the surrounding area are clamouring to get on her waiting list. Her chickens seem to be very popular and for good reason. She believes it is the terrior that gives them their distinct flavor.
She told us that sometimes a fox, owl or bobcat will take one of the chickens, but she understands and feels the land is shared with all of the animals. Just take a moment to read their philosophy and you'll understand their commitment to the animals, land and their rural community.
At the end of our visit, Jane generously sent us home with a pastured hormone-free chicken. (You can pick up Dewberry Hills Farm chicken at restaurants around town, Wheatsville and Sunset Valley Farmers' Market.) We paired ours with fried okra that we bought from a friendly couple selling watermelons, cantaloupe and okra on the side of the road that had been picked in McDade, Texas. Their truck was piled high with straw that cradled the huge striped watermelons. We were eager to try the orange variety.
We roasted the chicken that evening and used the leftovers to make this recipe. You could also marinate fresh chicken and cook it prior to sauteing the peppers and onions.
1 poblano, deseeded & sliced
1 red bell pepper, deseeded & sliced (Johnson's Backyard Garden)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped (5 Mile Farms)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
3 smoked tomatoes (5 Mile Farms), chopped (or rehydrate the ones from Boggy Creek Farm)
1/2 cup fig balsamic vinegar (Texas Olive Ranch)
8-10 fresh oregano leaves (our garden), chopped
leftover roasted Dewberry Hills Farm chicken, shredded (whole chickens available at Wheatsville)
salt & pepper
grapeseed or olive oil (Texas Olive Ranch)
1. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat and drizzle a little olive oil into the pan. Add the poblano and red bell pepper and onion and saute until tender.
2. Add the garlic, chipotle peppers (with a little of the adobo), chicken, smoked tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, oregano and honey or brown sugar and stir until most of the liquid has cooked out (or about 5 minutes). Serve warm.