Sunday, December 09, 2007

Chilaquiles Recipe

This chilaquiles recipe is put together from several places but the recipe that it is built on the most is from one of Zarela Martinez cookbooks; Food from my Heart, Cuisines of Mexico Remembered and Reimagined.

First of all, this isn't an exacting recipe. Certainly not exact like you need when you are baking. There are several ingredients that need preparation before you begin to assemble the chilaquiles but they can be done ahead of time and then put together at the last minute. This definitely isn't one of those 30 minute meals and I'm not an expert on writing down recipes so you need to read through the whole recipe before you start. I'm not going into details about how you roast peppers, or cook a chicken and things like that because if you are a regular cook you already know it. But this I can tell you, it is delicious and I had people going back for seconds and asking for the recipe.

Billie's Chilaquiles Recipe

2 or 3 roasted peeled poblano peppers cut into 1/2 inch pieces. I use poblano peppers in lots of things that I cook so I usually have some in the freezer. If you don't have them on hand, then you are going to need to roast and peel the peppers and they can be stored in the refrigerator until needed.

1 pound shredded sharp white cheddar cheese. Again you can shred the cheese ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble.

12-14 corn tortillas dried on the counter or in the oven until they start to curl up - firm but not crispy. Cut each into 20 to 24 small pie shape wedges. Or you can cut them then fry them quickly in hot vegetable oil and drain on paper towels. I like drying them rather than adding any more calories to this rich dish. If you use fresh tortillas I think the dish will be too mushy. I like some texture from the tortillas.

2 cups prepared sour cream - This is straight from Zarela's cookbook and it is a great idea for almost anytime you use sour cream in a recipe.
2 cups of sour cream
1/2 cup finely minced onion
1 small garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste.
Mix all this together and then let it sit for at least 5 minutes or store it tightly covered in the refrigerator for a few hours. It is one of those things that builds an additional level of flavor to a recipe.

3 to 3-1/2 cups tomatillo sauce:
1 pound fresh tomatillos
1 dried (or fried) corn tortilla
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 or 3 serranos - I put in 1-1/2 to 2 then taste and add more depending on the hotness of the serranos and/or the tastes of the people I will be serving. But I think that 2 is probably the right amount under most conditions.
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon of sugar (you will need to taste and decide if it needs more sugar)
2 heaping tablespoons of Mexican crema or sour cream or you could probably use heavy cream.
1/2 teaspoon of salt or to taste
Cover the tomatillos with water and cook about 5 minutes or until they change color. Drain but save 1/2 cup of the water they were cooked in.
Put the cooked tomatillos, cooking water and the tortilla, onion, garlic, serranos and cilantro leaves in a blender and blend for a minute. I like to have a bit of texture in the sauce rather than smooth. Taste and adjust salt and sugar. This can be made ahead and refrigerated. When ready to use, reheat in a sauce pan and add the crema or sour cream.

1 3-1/2 to 4 pound chicken stewed and shredded into small pieces. This should yield about 3 to 4 cups of shredded chicken. You can prepare this ingredient ahead of time and store it tightly covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to saute it with the onion and poblanos.

When ready to assemble chilaquiles, saute about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chopped onion and the cut up roasted poblano peppers until the onion is translucent. Add the chicken and saute until the chicken takes on a slightly warmer color but not browned. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble in a large bowl. Add the chicken mixture, the shredded cheese, the pieces of tortillas, about 1/2 of the tomatillo sauce and 1/2 the prepared sour cream. Toss until all the ingredients are mixed. Put in a 9x13 baking dish and top with the remaining sour cream. Bake in 325 degree oven until it is heated through...about 35 to 45 minutes. Take out of oven and top with remaining tomatillo sauce.

Serves 8 maybe 10 depending on what else you are serving.


1st Mate said...

I was told when you roast peppers, they peel much faster and easier if you put them in a plastic bag to "sweat" before trying to remove the skin.

Billie said...

1st mate,
It is true but instead of putting them in a plastic bag, I usually throw them in a bowl and cover them with a folded cuptowel. The important thing is to keep the heat in and steam them just a bit.