You could say that Patricia Jinich’s recipe for Chicken Tinga is famous. It has, after all, been featured on the Today Show, as well as on Jinich’s own PBS show, Pati’s Mexican Table. But that’s not why Jinich loves the recipe.
She loves it because her “monsters” love it. “Monsters” is how Jinich affectionately refers to her three sons, Alan, 13, Sami, 11, and Julian, 6. Sami and Juju, as Julian is called, deigned to appear in this video with her to talk about one of their favorite dishes. (Alan, being a teen-ager, had better things to do.)
Chicken Tinga, originally from the state of Puebla, in east-central Mexico, but popular all over the country, is one of those accommodating dishes, Jinich says, that can be made mild or spicy, saucy or not so saucy, and served any number of ways—with beans and rice, on a tortilla or in a quesadilla. This makes it easy to please all of her boys’ palates, including that of her husband, Daniel.
Cooking is Jinich’s first love after her husband and sons. She grew up in Mexico City in a family of “accomplished cooks and food maniacs,” as she puts it. Each week she shares her knowledge of and passion for the food of her native country with thousands of her American fans. But cooking wasn’t always her career. Before her professional cooking days, Jinich was—of all things—a political analyst, with a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University.
But the kitchen kept calling, Jinich says. While living in Texas, she had a brief stint teaching Mexican cooking to friends and neighbors and working as a production assistant on a PBS series called “New Tastes from Texas.”
When the family moved to Washington, D.C., Jinich set aside her brief foray into cooking and returned to the world of political analysis…until the Mexican Cultural Institute came calling. In 2007 she began teaching a program called Mexican Table, hosting cooking demonstrations and sharing her love of Mexico’s diverse cuisine and cultures. Her own PBS series debuted in 2011.
Here’s Jinich and sons Sami and Julian talking about their favorite ways to enjoy Chicken Tinga. For a recipe, go to AmericanFoodRoots.com.