Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pork Tinga Tostadas

I couldn’t let Cinco de Mayo go by with out posting a Mexican food recipe.  We are big fans of Mexican food in my family.  We are also big fans of carnitas, so I had reservations while I was making Pork Tinga from Cook’s Illustrated.  Would Les and I like it?  Would the kids eat it?  I was especially worried while I was pouring the tomato sauce into the pork mixture.  I was worried it would taste like pasta sauce or chili.  I had misgivings up until the time I tasted the pork mixture.  I love the flavor of Pork Tinga.  The tomato sauce doesn’t make the pork taste like pasta sauce.  No, the flavor is rich and spicy.  The filling would be fantastic in enchiladas and tamales as well as the tostadas.   Pork Tinga will probably replace carnitas in this family.

I unintentionally adapted the recipe by adding 2 tablespoons of chipotle powder instead of one.  Les and I loved the spiciness of the 2 tablespoons of chipotle powder.  The kids even liked the spicy pork even though they went through a half-gallon of milk!  You can decide the amount of spice you would like in your Pork Tinga by decreasing the chipotle powder.

Pork Tinga Tostadas
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Printable Recipe
2 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium onions, cut one into quarters, and chop one fine
5 medium garlic cloves, 3 cloves peeled and smashed, and 2 minced
4 sprigs of thyme
Table salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 14.5-ounce can tomatoe sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons ground chipotle powder
2 bay leaves (optional)

Tostada shells
Refried beans
Queso fresco
Fresh cilantro
Chopped avocado

Place the pork, quartered onion, the 3 smashed garlic cloves, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt in 6 cups of water.  Bring the pork to a boil over medium-high heat, skimming off any foam that accumulates on the top.  Reduce the heat to medium, cover, leaving a gap to let off steam, and simmer for 70 to 90 minutes, or until the pork is fork tender.  (The next time I make this, I will be placing the pork, onion etc. into a crockpot and cooking it for 8 to 10 hours).  Drain the pork, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and discard the onion, garlic and thyme.  Shred the pork by mashing it with a potato masher.  Cook’s Illustrated recommends this technique, and it works great!

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or 12-inch skillet, and add the shredded pork, chopped onion and dried oregano.  Cook, stirring often, until the pork is browned and crispy, about 7 to 10 minutes.  Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.  Add the chipotle powder to taste, reserved cooking liquid, tomato sauce and bay leaves.  Simmer until the liquid is almost evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove and discard the bay leaves, and add salt to taste.

Serve the pork tinga on the tostada shells with the refried beans, queso fresco, cilantro and avocado.


  1. At what point do you add the tomato sauce?

  2. That will teach me to write a recipe when I'm tired... You add the tomato sauce when you add the chipotle powder. I've update the recipe. Thanks for letting me know! Janice

  3. I have been thinking about making pork tinga for the longest time! Thanks so much for sharing this. I'm so glad it wasn't a letdown...perfect cinco de mayo celebratory food.

  4. I too subscribe to Cook's Illustrated and have now made this recipe twice. Simply fantastic - that's all I can say. The version in which you make the chorizo is nothing short of awesome. I'm going to smoke the pork next time. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi Joanne, I don't think you will be disappointed with this recipe. Thanks for visiting! Janice

    Hi Anonymous, I love Cook's Illustrated now, but I only really started to appreciate it in the last few years. I think I was lured into buying other magazines by their glossy pictures, but now I appreciate all the time Cook's Illustrated takes in testing their recipes.

    Smoking the pork sounds like a great idea...I'll have to try it! Thanks for the tip. Janice

  6. What Bay Leaves? Not listed in the recipe !!

  7. Those tinga tostadas look really good!

  8. Hi Kevin, Thanks! They tasted good too! Thanks for visiting. Janice

  9. It looks delicious.I wish I could reach out and grab one.I'm bookmarking this recipe to try soon.So curious to try the potato masher tip. If you wont mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!

  10. I'm going to give this a try with the pork shoulder I have in the freezer.
    I agree on Cooks Illus. over other recipe mags, especially since Taste Of Home went so heavily sponsored.
    Cuisine at Home is another good mag for excellent recipes.

  11. These are SO delicious! When we have time, my husband slow-roasts the pork shoulder on the grill and then we shred it for the recipe...yum!



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