Cinco de Mayo Celebration: Tingas on Tostadas

We really need only the barest excuse to cook Mexican food, and Cinco de Mayo is permission to go all out. This year, we'll be celebrating with super slow-cooked pork and chicken tingas served up on crispy fried tostadas with a sprinkle of queso fresco. Ever had this dish?

Reaching back to grade school history classes (or...ahem...Wikipedia), some of us might remember that Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla and a victory for the Mexican Army over the French. As a classic dish from this region, tingas are a perfect way to tip our hats to the holiday's origins and enjoy some fantastic Mexican food at the same time.

The best tingas take time to make. The chicken or pork is simmered with aromatic vegetables until the meat is fork-tender and infused with flavor. The meat is shredded and then cooked again, this time in a sauce of tomatoes and smoky chipotle peppers.

This is time well spent. The resulting dish is rich and deeply spiced with meat so tender that you could eat it with a spoon.

Tingas are also meant to be shared and make a perfect party dish. Just set out all the ingredients on the buffet table and let guest assemble their own tostadas. You can also serve mini tinga bites on corn chips as an appetizer. Also in its favor, the tinga can be made a day or two ahead and reheated for the party.

Here are a few recipes we've bookmarked to try:

Chicken Tinga from Sweet Savory Planet
Tinga de Puerco Tacos from Homesick Texan
Tinga Pueblana with Pork from Food Network

Do you love tinga? What's your favorite way to make it?

Related: The Ultimate Cheater Pulled Pork from The Splendid Table

(Image: Flickr member Jen SFO-BCN licensed under Creative Commons)