Michael and I’s relationship revolves around food and it always has. For our first few dates, Michael picked where we went to eat. On our first date, we went to Stereo, a 100% vegan cafe in Glasgow; date two was at the Butterfly and the Pig in Shawlands; our third outing was to La Boca, a Spanish tapas restaurant in the City Centre; but date four was my turn – Topolobamba, a Mexican street food restaurant.
Topolobamba ranks in my top 3 restaurants and it is great for gluten-free. The menu is marked according to what isn’t gluten-free, rather than what is. With sites in Edinburgh and Aberdeen too, you need to check this place out.
One of my favourite dishes on the menu is the chicken tinga tacos. The tacos are dainty and soft and 100% gluten-free. The chicken tinga is to die for – shredded chicken in a spicy and smokey chipotle tomato sauce. Perfection.
The Whole Foods near me has recently been shut down – one of the most devastating days of my life – but when it was in business, I used to get tins of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and green tomatillos, which are 2 primary ingredients in the authentic tinga recipe. The adobo peppers provide the spicy, smokey base and the tomatillos add a certain tartness to the recipe. Given that these ingredients are so difficult to come by, I thought I would adjust the recipe myself, based on this one, to make it more accessible.
So why not bring Topolobamba to you and cook up a batch of this chicken tinga to have at home? I served mine with a big ol’ baked sweet potato and some of my homemade oil-free mayo-free slaw but it can be used in so many different combinations – as an enchilada filling, on nachos, served with rice and guac, or in tacos like in Topolobamba!
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1kg chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp chipotle paste
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp oregano
- 125ml chicken or vegetable stock
- Juice of one lime
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Bay leaf
- Heat oil in a pot on a medium heat. Place all the chicken thighs skin side down and brown for 5 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the other. Remove from the pan and place on a plate set to the side. Keep the fat from the chicken in the pan.
- Fry onion in the fat for around 8-10 minutes until softened.
- Fry off garlic for a further 2 minutes, and then add the paste, puree and spices and cook through for a further 2 minutes.
- Pour in the tinned tomatoes and heat through for a few minutes.
- Take the pot off of the heat and use a hand stick blender to blitz the mixture into a smoother sauce.
- Place the pot back on the heat and add the stock, lime juice, vinegar and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Nestle the chicken thighs in the sauce.
- Once it's boiling, reduce to a simmer, and cook for around 20 minutes until thickened.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Remove the chicken thighs again and with 2 forks, shred the meat off of the thigh bones. Discard the bones and add the shredded meat back to the sauce.
- Heat through, remove the bay leaf, and serve.