Tinga de Pavo

Most years I do a traditional roast turkey for Thanksgiving (though I spatchcock/butterfly it to cook it very quickly at high heat). No matter the size of the bird or how many guests we have, we usually have enough turkey left that we get sick of it after the first day of leftovers. Or at least that used to be the case until I started recycling most of it into a down and dirty version of tinga de pavo/pollo. Tinga de pollo is one of the signature dishes at our local Mexican restaurant, El Triunfo, but it’s very easy to make at home. Leftover roast turkey is perfect for this dish which calls for pre-cooked chicken (pollo) or turkey (pavo) breast, shredded and added to a simple sauce made with onions, garlic, tomatoes and chipotle chillies en adobo. Provided you have everything on hand, this is as easy a dish as you can hope to make with leftover turkey. 


  • 2 cups of shredded cooked turkey or chicken breast
  • One medium white or yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup tomato
  • About 8 oz of chipotles en adobo
  • A small pinch of dried oregano (Mexican, preferably)
  • 1 cup turkey or chicken stock
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil over moderate heat and add the sliced onions, garlic and salt. Saute till softened.
  2. While the onions are cooking, puree the tomatoes and chipotles with plenty of the adobo from the can.
  3. Add the pureed tomatoes and chipotles to the pan and add the pinch of oregano. Cook over a simmer till you see the oil begin to separate.
  4. Add the shredded meat to the pan and mix in.
  5. Add the stock, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. You don’t want the sauce to end up too thin but you also don’t want it to dry out.
  6. Serve with tortillas or rice (or atop tostadas).


  1. If you’re the kind of degenerate who does not have a few cans of chipotles en adobo in your pantry at all times, this recipe will make you rethink your life choices.
  2. When not making this to use up leftover roast turkey, poached chicken breast is best.
  3. White onions seemed to be used more often in Mexican cooking but I make it with yellow onions as yellow and red are what I usually have on hand.
  4. You can use far less chipotles if you like but with a cup of tomatoes you should probably use at least 4 with some of the adobo.
  5. Some recipes call for some crumbled chorizo as well. I’ve made it both ways and it’s very good without as well.
  6. This is great with rice and with tortillas.
  7. You can garnish it with shredded cabbage, chopped onion and sliced avocado.


4 thoughts on “Tinga de Pavo

  1. Thanks. It’s not so much my recipe as the “average” of many recipes I saw when I first looked for how to make this at home. Some recipes use stock, some don’t. Some use oregano, some don’t. Some use chorizo, some don’t. Onions are sliced or chopped. Different ratios of tomato and chipotles are used.


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