I don’t know that I can necessarily pick my “favorite” Mexican meal (I claim a separation by mealtimes, so there is no one winner) but chilaquiles are certainly high on the list and specially for Sunday brunches. I like their versatility (veggie? with chicken? with green sauce? red sauce?) and the fact that they make me feel at home. I guess you could call them one of my comfort foods and I’ve been wanting to post this recipe for weeks. Last Saturday, after cooking them for a friend, I decided it was their time to shine on the blog, but with all that’s been going on, it’s taken me a week to post this.
While I usually make mine in a chipotle sauce (I’m a sucker for the smokiness, what can I say), this recipe uses the classic salsa verde.
Yield: 4-5 servings
for the salsa:
- 1/2 lb tomatillos (green tomatoes)
- 4 chiles de árbol (I use dried because those are the ones I can find here)
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1/2 garlic clove
- about 6 cilantro sprigs, chopped
- 1 c chicken stock (substitute for vegetable if you are making veggie version of chilaquiles)
- 1/2 tbsp oil
for the chilaquiles:
- 8 tortillas, sliced in strips or cut up in triangles and dried* (see note below)
- 1/3 c oil
- 1 c chicken breast, shredded (usually cooked to make the broth used in this dish)
- 1/2 c chicken broth
- 1/4 c Mexican cream (or, sour cream, thinned a bit so it’s more liquid)
- 1 1/2 c salsa verde
- 1/4 c queso fresco
- 2 thin slices of onions, broken into rings
- Cook the tomatillos in boiling water for 10-15 mins until they change color (you will see them turn pale green) and are tender. Drain and peel them.
- In a blender, combine tomatillos, peppers, garlic, cilantro and onions. Don’t add water. Blend until smooth, but don’t overdo it (retain a little texture).
- Heat up the oil in a medium-sized pot and add the tomatillo blend. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until it becomes darker. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Let sauce simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
- Heat up the oil in a large pan. To know when your oil is ready, drop a small wedge of onion to it and if it sizzles, you’re in business.
- Fry the tortilla triangles in batches, until they are lightly golden (remember that they will continue to cook with the heat of the oil once you remove them, so you don’t want them to be too brown) and set them on paper towels to absorb the oil.
- Once you’ve fried all the tortillas, discard any leftover oil. Lower the heat to medium, return the tortillas to the pan, add the chicken, broth and salsa. Mix well until all tortilla chips are coated, and cook for about 4 minutes, until tortillas are soft, but not mushy.
- Serve immediately, garnished with the cream, queso fresco and onion rings as toppings (in the picture below I used chopped onion, as I had some leftover). I usually accompany brunch chilaquiles with black beans and some guacamole.
* The night before you plan to make these, lay out the tortillas so they dry up. Frying up a fresh tortilla doesn’t work, as it will absorb the oil and not be crunchy. In a pinch, if you don’t have dry tortillas, slice fresh ones and stick them in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes to dry them.
* The key with this dish is keeping the simmering time short, otherwise the tortillas will get mushy and the dish will lose its texture.
* You may do the long-haul work before hand. Make the salsa, shred the chicken and fry the tortillas ahead of time, so you can go straight to mixing right before meal time.