Chilaquiles: A Mexican Comfort Food
The first time I had chilaquiles was during the year I spent in Mexico living with Mely’s family. Mely’s sister, Ihali, made them for me, and I’ve had recurring cravings for the dish ever since. I don’t know much about its origins, but I do know it’s one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s simple, it’s authentic, and it so, so yummy. What else do you want? Here’s the recipe:
Green Chilaquiles (from La Gran Cocina Mexicana (The Great Mexican Kitchen) – editorial Océano) Serves 4-6.
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of cooking oil
1 cup of green salsa (Herdez brand is good)
1 string of epazote
24 tortillas cut into medium size triangles
2 cooked, shredded chicken breasts
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of white shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 200 oC (392 oF). With a spoon, gently mix the green mole paste with the chicken broth until you achieve a uniform consistency (you may adjust the thickness to your taste; more mole means thicker paste). Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan, then add the green salsa. When the salsa begins to sizzle add the dissolved green mole mixture and the sprig of epazote (Epazote can be found at some specialty stores. Use cilantro as an alternative). Mix and bring it all to a boil (a couple minutes max) and turn off the heat. In a separate pan, fry the tortilla triangles with the remaining oil and let them dry over paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and create alternating layers of fried tortilla chips, shredded chicken, cream, salsa and cheese (in that order) making the last layer cream, salsa, and cheese (sorta like a lasagna). Bake your chilaquiles for 20 minutes. Serve them hot. You can garnish at your pleasure with more shredded cheese and cream.
Tip: It is easier to blend the mole paste with the broth if you do it over very low heat being careful not to cook it.