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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Tom Hunt

How to turn leftover roast chicken and old tortillas into chicken tinga tostadas – recipe

Tom Hunt's leftover chicken tinga tostada
Tom Hunt’s leftover chicken tinga tostada. Photograph: Tom Hunt/The Guardian

Leftover roast meat makes a glorious tostada topping. Combined with your favourite Mexican-inspired ingredients, just 150g is enough meat for about six tostadas, to serve as a snack for six or a huge feast for two. Tostadas are also a great way to give old tortillas new life.

Chicken tinga is a classic Mexican dish usually made from shredded chicken spiced with smoky chipotle chillies in a rich, tomato sauce. I always keep a stash of chipotle chillies in the larder, but if you don’t have any, hot smoked paprika is a good substitute, especially for getting that smokiness, though any chilli will do, really.

Leftover roast chicken tinga tostadas

I much prefer corn tortillas, but occasionally I’ll buy a packet of flour ones from the supermarket to make wraps. We always end up with a few left over, which slowly turn to cardboard in the bread bin, and frying them to make tostadas revives them into a really tasty treat.

I didn’t have any leftover tortillas when I photographed this recipe, so I made some fresh ones using the bag of masa harina we always have in the store-cupboard so we can make tortillas whenever we feel like them. Real maize tortillas can be costly and hard to find, but they are very simple to make. To make nine tortillas, mix 125g blue masa harina with 165g boiling water, leave it to cool then roll into nine balls – that’s about all there is to it, other than pressing and cooking them by simply frying them on both sides in a dry pan until cooked through.

Fry any leftover cooked tortillas in a little oil, and you’ll have tostadas. You don’t really need to add anything else – they’re lovely enough just as they are – but that said, the world is your oyster here regarding toppings, so get creative and add anything that takes your fancy. I wanted some plant protein in the mix, so I served mine with a side of black beans; other potential toppings include avocados (ideally organic, sustainably sourced or both), soured cream, queso fresca or feta, salsa and lime.

Serves 2-6

2 tbsp sunflower oil, or other frying oil
6 small maize or wheat tortillas
1 red or white onion
, peeled and finely sliced (about 125g net)
1 clove
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 pinch dried oregano
(Mexican, ideally)
Salt and black pepper
150g leftover roast chicken meat
, shredded
150ml chicken roasting juices, or water
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 dried chipotle chilli
, or 2 tsp hot smoked paprika (or regular chilli flakes or even chilli sauce)

To serve (all optional)
Queso fresca, or feta
Soured cream
Fresh coriander leaves and soft stalks
Lime wedges

Put a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, then gently fry the tortillas, in batches if need be, until golden and crisp on both sides. Transfer to a plate and put to one side.

Put the remaining oil in the same pan, add the sliced onion, clove, bay leaves, cumin, oregano and a good grind of black pepper, then saute, stirring occasionally, for five to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the shredded roast chicken and its roasting juices (or water), then stir in the tomato puree and chopped chipotle, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat a little and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce turns thick. Lift out and discard the bay leaves and clove, then season to taste.

Serve the chicken tinga on top of your fried tostadas with your favourite toppings – I like queso fresca (or feta), soured cream, fresh coriander and lime.

  • Discover this recipe and over 1,000 more from your favourite cooks on the new Guardian Feast app, with smart features to make everyday cooking easier and more fun

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