Chilaquiles are a common and delicious Mexican dish. There are several things I need to tell you.
- How to pronounce chilaquiles. It’s easy. Ready? CHEE-LAH-KEE-LES. See? You did it!
- This is a breakfast food. And you say, “but it’s not eggs and cereal and pancakes!” And I say, “doesn’t matter. Where I come from, this is breakfast.” Okay, okay, in my house we eat it for dinner, but traditionally, it´s a breakfast food.
- Chilaquiles should NEVER EVER ever ever ever be a casserole. Never ever. It’s not a “Mexican lasagna.” Something like that might be tasty, but it is not chilaquiles and it is definitely not authentic.
So what are Chilaquiles? I think it’s fair to compare it to spaghetti and meatballs in that it’s carbs, meat, red sauce, cheese. Except it’s tortillas, chicken, red sauce, cheese. …And sour cream and avocado.
Mmmm it’s delicious okay?! Let’s leave it at that until you try it. In fact, it’s so delicious that we served this at our wedding.*
- 10 tortillas (I prefer flour but you can use corn if you´re more of a traditionalist.)
- 1 cup shredded chicken breast (I often cheat and start with a rotisserie chicken.)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup chunky salsa
- 1 tsp Tony’s
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 onion, sliced into thin rings
- 1/4 cup cheese (you really want queso fresco but a mild feta will do. I used mozzarella because that’s all I had.)
- 1/4 cup cream (here you want crema or maybe creme fraiche but I use sour cream and dilute it with a bit of milk.)
- 1 sliced avocado
- Cut tortillas into about one inch squares and toss them into the deep fryer.
- Deep fry them for one minute at 350°.
- Drain them on paper towels.
- Shred your chicken. You can grill your own chicken for shredding but I usually cheat and start with a rotisserie chicken.
- In a wide open skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat and sauté garlic.
- Add tomato sauce and chunky salsa.
- Season with Tony’s, paprika and chili powder.
- Stir well and bring to low heat.
- Wait to assemble until you’re ready to serve, because you don’t want your tortillas to get soggy!
- Stir the tortillas into your sauce, enough for them to be coated, and then quickly scoop them out onto your plates. (See above.)
- Top with chicken and onions.
- Drizzle with crema and cheese.
- Top with thin avocado slices.
*We had a beautiful wedding in Mexico. The mass was at the church I was baptised in, the reception at a beautiful hotel. In Mexico, reception parties last many hours… Ours was maybe eight hours long? This might sound terrible, but it’s not! We had a great time! Cocktails and pictures, then dinner and dancing and cake… And then second dinner and more dancing! What? It’s true. Wedding venues always offer a second meal for 50% of the guests, knowing your guests will be hungry from all that dancing! Michael chose chilaquiles for the second meal just because they’re his favorite dish.
In case you’re curious if our first meal was super Mexican, too, the menu was as follows: Appetizer: Pulled chicken tarragon tostadas; Soup: Lobster bisque; Entree: Angus Skirt Steak with potatoes and Chambray onions; Argentine sausage and mango habanero chimichurri on the side, side dish of herb mushrooms; Dessert: Tequila-drizzled lemon sorbet. Our wedding cake was Tres Leches (my favorite) and second dinner was Chilaquiles (my husband´s favorite). Mhmmm 🙂