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Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles

 The name “chilaquiles” is one of the most typical and popular breakfast in Mexico. Chilaquiles origins remote to the ancient Aztec civilization and comes  from a word in In the indigenous language of Mexico Nahuatl “chil-a-quilitl,”, that means “herbs or greens in chili broth.”

 

Chilaquiles provide an important culinary history of Mexican cuisine.

 

Chilaquiles, is a Mexican dish consisting of strips or pieces of corn tortillas that are dried over-night, fried, then sautéed with green or red salsa, and topped with cheese, Crema and onions.

 

Pulled chicken may also be added during the cooking process, and casserole versions of the dish are popular. Beans, eggs, beef, and avocado are among the foods often served with chilaquiles. It is typically eaten for breakfast or brunch

 

Depending on the Region of Mexico, you will find different variations

My Abuelita always made them with a family recipe that dates back to the 1800’s where the egg is cooked with the corn tortillas as they simmer in abuelita’s salsa topped with cheese.

In Mexico City is typical to find them with a spicy tomato sauce, crema, avocado, chicken and epazote. This is the recipe we serve at Ollin Tea & Café.

In the southern part of  Mexico you will often find that chilaquiles are prepared with a white sauce, similar to the Tex-Mex version of Enchiladas.

In Guadalajara Chilaquiles are kept simmering in filled cazuelas making them thick in texture similar to a Mexican Lasagna.

Chilaquiles is one of those dishes that you can basically customize and add anything you would like, such as; chorizo, shredded chicken, shredded beef and even fried eggs on top.

 

Basic Chilaquiles Recipe

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  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

It will help with the frying if your tortillas are a little dry. If they are fresh, cut them first, put them in a warm oven for a few minutes first to dry them out a bit, then proceed.

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen corn tortillas, preferably stale, or left out overnight to dry out a bit, quartered or cut into 6 wedges
  • Corn oil
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups red chile sauce or salsa verde*
  • A few sprigs of epazote (optional)

Garnishes

  • Cotija cheese or queso fresco
  • Crema Mexicana or creme fraiche
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Chopped red onion
  • Avocado, sliced or roughly chopped

*Red chili sauce

Take 4 dried ancho chiles, remove seeds, stems, and veins. Heat chiles lightly on a skillet on medium heat to draw out their flavor. Put chilies in a saucepan, pour boiling hot water over to cover. Let sit for 15 minutes. Add chiles, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 1/2 cups of chili soaking liquid to a blender. Hold down lid of blender tightly while blending, blend until completely puréed. Strain through a mesh sieve into a frying pan to make the chilaquiles.

*Salsa verde

Put 1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, into a saucepan, cover with water by an inch. Add 1 jalapeno, stems and seeds removed. Add 2 cloves garlic. Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes until tomatillos have changed color and are cooked through. Use slotted spoon to remove tomatillos, jalapeno and garlic to a blender. Add a cup of the cooking liquid. Blend until completely puréed. Add salt to taste. 

1 Fry the tortillas: In a large sauté pan, coat pan generously with corn oil, (1/8 inch), heat on medium high to high. When the oil is quite hot, add the tortillas, fry until golden brown.

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Remove tortillas to a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess oil. Sprinkle a little salt on the tortillas.

Wipe pan clean of any browned bits of tortillas.

2 Heat the salsa: Add 2 Tbsp oil to pan, bring to high heat again. Add the salsa and let salsa cook for several minutes. If you have a few sprigs of epazote, add them to the salsa.

3 Add fried tortillas to the salsa: Add the fried tortilla quarters to the salsa. Gently turn over the pieces of tortilla until they are all well coated with salsa. Let cook for a few minutes more.

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Remove from heat. Serve chilaquiles with garnishes and fried eggs and beans or nopalitos.

 

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