Only one week between posts? Woo-hoo! I rule!
Chilaquiles are my new best friend. (To those that currently hold that dubious distinction, I hope you are ready for competition…er, company.) Chilaquiles kind of defy definition, except that they don’t because they are a Mexican staple of stale tortilla chips in a chile sauce that is generally eaten for brunch, and I just defined them, except that they are so much more than that. They can be “plain,” they can be done in a red chile sauce or a green chile sauce, the sauce can be tomato based, you can top them with chicken or make them completely vegetarian, or in my case you can top them with some classic favorites, cotija cheese, diced onion, sour cream and avocado.
This is one of those recipes that shouldn’t have sucked me in, but did. I was reading Matt Bites and he takes such pretty pictures, and there were chips! And cheese! And I was intrigued, so I saved it in my recipes link list that gets longer and longer and longer every day, and I picked up some tortillas last time I was at the grocery store, and let them hang out in the fridge until I found a good time to make these. It happened on Sunday.
Last weekend seemed really long, but not in a good way really…I mean, not bad, exactly, just LONG. I had a long night on Friday, both good and less good, and then Saturday I volunteered in the morning and my volunteering job was making lunch for 35 in three hours. I made enchiladas, and they were very tasty, but I was totally beat afterwards…anyway, by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, I needed a pick me up, and I thought Chilaquiles, even though it is traditionally a breakfast or brunch dish(?) would do the trick.
Oooh-wee, I was correct.
First things first, I made the chips. You don’t technically HAVE to make the chips, but actually, yes you do, because they are so easy, and I can’t even a little bit imagine this with bagged tortilla chips…yeah, no, don’t do that.
Making tortilla chips really couldn’t be easier. And not easy like “shut up Meghan you’re an idiot -fill in the blank here- is not easy it’s super annoying when you say things like that,” easy, it’s actually easy. Heat oil over medium high until it is good and hot in a frying pan a couple inches deep. Cut corn tortillas (taco sized) in quarters. Fry without over crowding the pan. I did eight at a time in a 12″ cast iron skillet, I’d do six at a time in a 10″ skillet. Fry for two minutes or so until they are starting to look golden, flip once, fry for another minute, remove to paper towels and salt. Dunzo. Cooking enough chips for this dish (I started with an 11 oz bag of tortillas which was 12 of them) took me approximately 15 minutes of not hard work. I even drank wine while I did it. Incidentally, if you are looking to impress guests or just to enjoy the heck out of your next batch of guacamole, I would recommend this as well. I mean, sometimes you just want a delicious chip asap, but if you have a minute and your guests aren’t rolling their eyes at you because you are making them wait and all they want is some stupid guacamole for crying out loud, you should try this. Note though, I wouldn’t do this the day before if I was using them for chips and dip, but I would totally do this the day before if I was using them for chilaquiles. So, to that end, next time you are having non-eye-rolling guests, make some for your dips and then make extra for the next day’s breakfast. If you do know some eye rollers, make Chilaquiles for them, perhaps you will get an apology for the eye roll.
Once the chips are done, You just need 15-20 minutes for the rest and you are good to go.
This version, which is the one Matt picked, wisely because it is a Rick Bayliss recipe and I love him (also though? The Rick Bayliss recipe is pretty much exactly what is on Martha Stewarts’s site with absolutely no credit to Rick, and while for somethings she may reign supreme, I SUSPECT she did not create this recipe nor come up with almost exactly the same thing on her own given that the use of chipotles in adobo is different from most other recipes. Sorry Martha, I am going to give credit to Rick on this one, nice try, get your minions in line, they’re getting too big for their britches…)
Anyhoodle, puree a can of whole tomatoes with two chipotles in adobo. You can find them in a can in the Mexican food section of the grocery store (Also, I am adding them to my pantry list from last post. Stock up on them, they’re great.)
Brown onions in oil and then add garlic, then the tomato mixture and reduce for a minute or two…then chicken stock and reduce for another couple more minutes.
then you add the chips, and that, my friends, is it. Top it with whatever your little heart desires. Cotija cheese, Mexican crema or sour cream, chopped onion and scallions, shredded chicken, poached eggs, the possibilities are endless.
The chipotles in adobo are spicy and smokey and are really well balanced by the tomato. You have to eat these right away, because the best part is that in between time when the chips get soaked in the sauce and aren’t really crispy anymore but aren’t soggy. The soggy part happens pretty quickly though, so there are no leftovers here. Get them while they’re hot. And make them soon, I promise you won’t be sorry. And use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock if you want to go vegetarian. Easy peasy.
And now, as has become the norm, I leave you with some thoughts.
1. I watched The Fighter. Hadn’t seen it. AWESOME. Great movie. Christian Bale was fantastic, of course, but he will always be Jack Kelly to me. (I have not given up my no tv for Lent quest. I had set the ability to watch a pay per view movie now and again as a parameter ahead of time…)
2. In contrast to the prior weekend, this past weekend was one of those times when I realize just how lucky I am. Between my awesome family and my incredible friends, I have some very very awesome people in my life.
3. Five words for you: Lionel Richie station on Pandora. You are welcome. All thanks go to the Swiamse household for that tidbit.
4. My tournament bracket is destroyed. Notre Dame and Louisville killed me.
5. I need this…or maybe two. That and a $700 camera and I’d be in business. I pick expensive hobbies.
6. I have a pet peeve people. I know you are surprised. I hate the idea of vegan “cheese.” I think it is usally made out of ground pressed nuts. I don’t mind the idea of a spread made out of ground pressed nuts. In fact, if you said “I made this delicious vegan spread with nuts!” I would probably say “ooh, that sounds delightful, let me try it!” But if you say, “hey look, I made vegan “cheese” made out of nuts” I am going to say…”does not compute, not cheese.” I am not saying the spread wouldn’t be delicious, but I am fairly confident it would not be similar enough to cheese to make me think I am actually eating cheese, in which case, I will be disappointed. And I know that people say it DOES taste like cheese, but I don’t believe it. There is not a snowball’s chance in hell that ground nuts in any form are going to taste like Goat Gouda. I’m just saying, don’t call it cheese.
And now, as I continue to plow through life leaving offence in my wake, It’s probably time to wrap this up…
Chilaquiles (serves 3-4)
(adapted from Matt Bites)
1 can of whole tomatoes (28 oz), drained with 1/4 cup of the liquid reserved
2 whole chipotles in adobo
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, three-quarters sliced thinly, one-quarter in a fine dice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
8 ounces tortilla chips
¼ cup Cotija cheese
1/3 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
Toppings of your choice (shredded chicken, avocado, eggs, cilantro, chorizo, pickled onions, steak…I could go on and on.)
If you’re making your own tortilla chips, simply fry pieces of corn tortillas in hot oil until golden brown and then drain on paper towel.
In a blender, add the canned tomatoes and the reserved liquid and the two chipotle peppers. Blend until smooth.
In a large deep skillet (I used my high sided saute pan, a cast iron skillet is probably not deep enough,) heat the oil and the sliced onion (not the green) and cook over high heat until browned, 7-8 minutes (since it’s over high heat pay attention here so they don’t burn.) Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato and chipotle puree and simmer for about 5 minutes, until thickened. Add the chicken stock and boil the sauce over moderately high heat until it reduces a bit, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Gently stir the tortilla chips into the chile sauce, making sure they’re totally coated in sauce. Top the chips with the diced onion, the green onions, a sprinkle of cheese, a dollop of sour cream or crema and your chosen toppings. Eat these right away, they are not good once they are too soggy. You are going to like these a whole lot.