Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chilaquiles and Variations

Chilaquiles are one of my favorite things to eat.  Up until this visit to Mexico I thought the recipe for them was very straightforward.  You take corn chips (I like to use all the broken pieces at the end of a bag) soak them in a couple lightly beaten eggs, fry them and cover them in salsa fresca.    Kind of like a Mexican version of Matzo Brei.  Not so.   It turns out that in Mexico they soften the corn chips in a tin lightly spiced with bay leaf and some pepper tomato sauce and serve either eggs or shredded chicken on top (or both as pictured above).  The chicken meat that I have had here with my Chilaquiles has been dark meat and it works so much better then just white meat.  Its rich, moist unctuousness is a perfect foil to the tang of the sauce.  All Chilaquiles are served with refried beans, which here are looser then the ones I make, always made with pinto beans and served with a generous crumbling of cheese.  In one version I had the cheese was almost like Parmesan; it was a great surprise compared to the often ubiquitous queso fresco which is used.

The eggs of course can be scrambled or fried.  I have been getting scrambled, but then tried sunny side up and like how the runny yolks adds richness to the chips and sauce.  I actually think that poached eggs would be best, but as of yet I haven't seen that as an option.

Lastly, when I was doing some research on the topic of Chilaquiles I discovered that they can also be made with Salsa Verde.  Tomatillos have a wonderful citric note that give the dish a whole new flavor profile and really lends itself to cheese and eggs.  If you don't have any left over chicken legs to add, a light sprinkling of crunchy bacon would be a damn fine addition as well.

Chilaquiles are the perfect leftover food, not to mention in my experience the perfect hangover food.  I love anything you can add lots of hot sauce to.

Whether you make them from leftovers or buy the ingredients specifically to make them, Chilaquiles are a great way to spice up breakfast.

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