31 August 2010

Tinga de pollo or how to make the most out of a giant bag of tomatoes

I have not mentioned it yet but last week, el presidente-of-the-company-that-used-to-own-me-but-doesn't-anymore gave me a giant sac of tomatoes from his farm. I can't say how much exactly but many kilos of tomatoes and they were all pretty much ripe and needed to be dealt with shortly. So I spent a number of late nights in the kitchen and brewed up a few sauces.

The first one was a relatively traditional tomato sauce for pasta. I enjoy the roasted tomato sauce the best but don't have a flame of any kind for the roasting so decided to mix some cultures and Mexicanize (if you can even believe it!) the proceedings. Essentially I roasted the tomatoes and the garlic on the comal so they were all nice and charred up and then went about making the sauce in an ordinary way - with some onion, salt, pepper, oregano and basil (from my window garden). Cooked it for a while and then just bottled it up.

I have not tried it yet so don't have any verdict on how it worked out. The taste out of the pot while cooking seems to point to good news . . . .

The next night I used up a whole whack more of the tomatoes and made a big batch of roasted tomato and chipotle sauce. It is my favourite sauce and I like to eat it in many ways. It was one of the first introductions to the beauty of Mexican cooking that I got from, you guessed it, Rick Bayless. Now I make it all the time and I had been waiting for the good tomatoes to start rolling in. So I made a lot. Gave some to el presidente and kept the rest.

Having some fresh sauce on hand, I decided to make a tinga de pollo. In this case, it's shredded chicken (let's just buy one already cooked, it is a weeknight!) along with shredded onion and potato. Cook up the potato and onion, shred about half the chicken and add it along with a cup or so of the sauce and you have an absolutely outstanding dish. You can use this inside tacos, on tostadas or sopes, or just eat it straight up. I toasted a few tortillas and layered them up with some sour cream, chopped white onion, sliced avocado, and freshly chopped tomato. What a feast.

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