27 January 2010

spice it up: chilaquiles

I'd been hearing all this buzz about chilaquiles, but never tried them before. I looked up some recipes and it seemed pretty easy, so I gave it a shot. Very easy, a wee bit spicy, but very yummy!

You can absolutely tailor this dish to your tastes. You can make your own sauce (as in the recipe), or you can buy canned enchilada sauce. This lazy girl used Las Palmas enchilada sauce, but only because stores in this area don't carry Hatch. Yum. You can find mild enchilada sauce most everywhere if you don't want it too spicy. You can top it with whatever cheese you like, chicken or more traditional eggs, onions or not, etc. Peruse the recipe and you'll see what I mean.

As you can see, I chose all of the above. The first batch I made with red sauce (too smoky for my taste) and chicken and cotija cheese for dinner. This is traditionally a breakfast dish, so I wanted to try another batch with green sauce and eggs. My leftover cotija cheese just happened to have chopped chicken mixed in from the previous night's enchiladas, so I dumped it all on the chilaquiles. Yummy. I very much prefer the green sauce.

One note about the chips. From what I hear, this dish was created as a way to use up leftover corn tortillas. You fry up the stale tortillas and cook them in the sauce. That's what I did the first time. Always follow the recipe the first time, then be creative. The frying process used a lot of oil, and I was looking for a healthier option, so the second time, I baked my corn tortilla triangles until lightly browned and crispy. Then I cooked them in the sauce as in the recipe. The baked tortillas did just as well as the fried.

Also, I would assume that you could just use bagged tortilla chips as a shortcut. But I wouldn't use Tostitos or anything too light...I would look for a thick, dense, homemade kind of chip.

Yum, yum. I think this recipe will become part of our regular rotation. At least, when I feel like making a separate meal for the kids. This is too spicy for my little ones. Boy, I never thought I would be the mom that made two separate meals for one dinner. Yet another of life's little compromises, eh?


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