Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican dish. The name for this dish is derived from chil-a-quilitl, a Nahuatl word meaning “herbs or greens in chile broth”. Chilaquiles are meant to use leftovers from the previous day’s meal, incorporating day-old tortillas, chiles, cheese and sometimes shredded chicken or beef. More commonly, chilaquiles are eaten as breakfast and topped with a beautifully fried egg. As with any culture, recipes vary from region to region. In Guadalajara, the tortillas are simmered for hours making them texturally similar to polenta. In Sinaloa, northern Mexico, the chilaquiles are usually prepared with a white sauce and in Mexico City, a spicy tomato sauce. For my recipe, I decided to use a roasted tomatillo sauce (salsa verde) because I absolutely adore the flavors. This is my version of the cooked tomatillo sauce that is traditionally used for chilaquiles in Mexico.
8-10 fresh tomatillos
3 fresh serrano chiles
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 onion, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup chicken broth
10 corn tortillas cut into pieces
Tomatillo salsa (recipe above)
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Crumbled queso fresco or feta (not so traditional but it works)
Shredded chicken (optional)
Fresh cilantro garnish
Preheat oven to 550°.
Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them under warm water to remove the stickiness. Put the tomatillos, chiles, onions, and garlic on a baking sheet and coat them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Place baking sheet on the rack closest to the heat source and cook for 5-7 minutes, turning once until softened and charred. Once cooled, peel the garlic and pull the tops off the chiles. Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor along with the fresh cilantro and purée. Pour in the chicken broth and blend until desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To make the chilaquiles, pour vegetable oil into a large pan over medium heat. Add the tortillas and cook until lightly browned and barely crisp. Drain tortillas on a paper towel and season with salt; we want to keep layering the flavors. Discard remaining oil from the pan. In the same pan, add the tomatillo salsa and bring to a simmer over low heat. Add the tortillas to the salsa and cook until slightly softened but not mushy. After removing the tortillas, add the shredded chicken to the tomatillo salsa until evenly coated and heated through. Arrange the tomatillo coated tortillas on a plate or individual dishes. Top with shredded chicken, cheese crumbles, fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
* * For a low fat option, spray tortillas with olive oil and bake on a hot pizza stone until crisp.
I decided to cut my tortillas into strips and stacked them mainly because I like the way it looks and eats, but this meal can be made even simpler as a lasagna with layers of tortilla, salsa and cheese.
Assemble the Chilaquiles like a lasagna:
Using a big lasagna pan layer the following:
1 – A layer of tortillas
2 – A layer of chicken coated in salsa
3 – Top with cheese
Repeat by doing the same for next layer and finish with cheese.
Cook in the oven approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Any way you stack this dish it is delicious. The first time I tried chilaquiles I was automatically hooked; I guarantee they will become a staple in your kitchen.
xoxo The Refined Palate
© 2011 Xristina Miros