Ideally, there should be a bit of a travel story depicting my drunken body staggering into some dirty backwater, iguana-crawling, cha-cha playing, peeling concrete floored cantina somewhere down in the backwoods of the Yucatan Peninsula where I first had Chilaquiles. But that would be a fib.
The drunkenness, staggering and crawling are probably correct – but I have no recollection of that event, .. sir...
No, I first had them a great deal closer. In fact, right across the street from my old house in the Virginia-Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta. Not exactly South of the Border… but it was South-ish of Buckhead…a bit.
Chilaquiles are, for lack of a better word, a kind of Mexican casserole. They are traditionally made with left over (and preferably stale) tortilla chips, simmered in salsa, and cooked with either eggs or left-over chicken.
It’s comfort food plus – like Mexico City Chicken and Dumplings… or Jalisco Mac n Cheese… or Tijuana Tetrazzini… or. ..
you get the picture.
My take on that Deep South classic is a little lighter than the traditional. Since this pulls together in less than 15 minutes start to finish – More times than not, I’ll make Chilaquiles for breakfast and not the late night hangover reducer of my slightly younger years. So, whereas I do like the taste of toasty, toasty chips in the mix, I’m not a huge fan of the amount of latent grease that’s already in a corn tortilla nor the frying that makes them that way… and baking them just really doesn’t do the trick.
So, for this recipe, I am using them uncooked to start with – we’ll cook them up a bit in the pan before we add everything else in.
And since my vegetable of the moment (and into the foreseeable future) is okra – I’m using a bit of it here as well. Feel free to sub out and add in any other bit of greenish crunch that tips your fancy.
Plate Fodder Chilaquiles
12 Corn Tortillas
1 1/2 Cups Good Chunky Bottled Red Salsa (I’ll leave the heat up to you on that)
1 Cup Chicken Stock
1/2 Cup Mexican Crema
1 Cup Sliced Okra (or Frozen)
1 Scallion – Chopped
1 Sante Fe Chili (or Jalapeno) – Chopped
2 Tablespoons Oil
1 Avocado – Diced
- Separate the tortillas and let them dry out a bit – 30 minutes or so, (or overnight if you’re doing this for breakfast)
- Slice the tortillas into 1″ strips and add the strips and the scallions to the skillet with oil heated to medium high
- Saute the strips around a bit in the oil until they begin to scorch on the edges
- Add the salsa, chilies and okra
- Fold everything under to coat with the salsa
- Add the stock, reduce to medium low and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed
- Make a small well in the center of the skillet and crack the 2 eggs into the well
- Continue to cook until only the whites are set
- Lift out onto a serving platter and top with the diced avocado and the crema