I kind of made this recipe up one day, based on the ingredients I had around the house. Initially I was torn between calling it a jambalaya or a paella–because (this is embarassing) I don´t really exactly know the difference between the two. I grew up eating both, in New Orleans and in Mexico, and well, they just kind of blend together in my mind. I know paella has clams and is usually yellow-er, where as I´ve never seen a jambalaya with clams, and I think it almost always has tomatoes, making it redder. But heck. Other than that, they´re both rice dishes with chicken and shrimp, right? And I didn´t even have shrimp when I made this, so I added chorizo and bacon to the mix. Ahh whatever, call it what you will. Wikipedia says jambalaya has it´s roots in Spanish paella, which–given the history of Louisiana–would make sense.
I´ve told you about how hard it´s been to find good chorizo, but I came up with this recipe when the chorizo was plentiful. You can substitute it for any other sausage, no worries. This dish is pretty easy, and delicious, as always.
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
- 2 chorizo links (or any other delicious sausage)
- 1 cup rice
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 can diced tomatoes, chipotle seasoned
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Optional: 4 strips of bacon, chopped
- Optional: 1 lb medium shrimp
WHAT YOU DO:
- Fry up the bacon. Once it´s about halfway cooked, add in the chorizo. Remember, if you have good chorizo, it´ll be crumbly once you cut the casing off. If you´re stuck with terrible chorizo because you haven´t been to Mexico recently, you might have to chop it up. If you don´t have chorizo, I guess you can substitute in any other delicious sausage. Do your best. Let these two cook and release flavorful fat. Yum. You can drain a little of the fat if you have a lot, but don´t get rid of all of it.
- Add onions and garlic. Sautee until translucent and aromatic.
- Add chicken cubes. After about 2 minutes, flip the cubes so they seal evenly on all sides. Season with pepper and paprika.
- Add rice and sautee it. Let it soak in those flavors.
- Add can of diced tomatoes. If you have shrimp, add those now.
- Pour in chicken stock. Mix everything gently so that everything is covered by the stock.
- Cover and lower heat to medium low.
- Let cook for 25 minutes without opening the lid!
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.
I couldn´t find any good avocados at the store so we had to make do without
*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 🙂
Growing up in my household, Sunday mornings meant Huevitos Mexicanitos. This translates as “Little Mexican eggs” and as I grew older I learned they were our family’s version of Huevos Rancheros. I think everyone has their own version of Huevos Rancheros, with variations, but this is how we make them. They’re easy and delicious and remeniscent of happy Sunday mornings.
Nowadays I make them several times a week because my husband is very much a breakfast-eater and these are quick and easy.
HERE´S WHAT YOU NEED:
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Tortilla–traditionally corn but I prefer flour
- Cold cuts: sliced ham, turkey, or maybe even chicken
- Salt and Pepper or Tony’s
- Chunky salsa
HERE´S WHAT YOU DO:
- Heat skillet over medium high heat, once warm, pour in a quarter inch of oil and let it get hot. Do not put oil in a cold skillet!
- Submerge tortilla. After about 30-60 seconds, flip it to the other side. Let it fry for another 30-60 seconds. Take tortilla out with tongs and rest it on paper towels.
- Crack open two or three eggs (or as many as you like) into the same hot oil. Turn down to medium heat.
- While eggs are cooking, move tortilla to plate, cover tortilla with thin layer of cold cuts. I prefer ham. Michael prefers turkey. Doesn´t matter.
- The eggs should be getting crispy around the edges. This makes for optimal deliciousness. Use spatula to splash hot oil onto the tops of the eggs so that all the whites become opaque and so that a thin layer forms over the yolks.
- Carefully slide spatula under eggs, place them on the tortilla. Pat gently with paper towel to absorb extra oil.
- Sprinkle a little salt and pepper or Tony’s over the yolks.
- Top with chunky salsa.
I like to serve refried black beans on the side. BUT HERE´S THE THING ABOUT THE BEANS. My mom always refried the beans in chorizo. The problem is finding good chorizo. I go to Mexico at least once a year–usually in January, and try to bring home a year’s supply of chorizo. Invariably, we run out by about March or April. And then I’m sad for the rest of the year because of my lack of chorizo.
Recently, I found some at our local Rouses that didn’t look good, but looked passable. It´s Johnsonville brand and who knows where the heck that is. But, previously, I had only ever been able to find this tube chorizo that really creeps me out (see left) because I never trust meat that is packaged in such a way that the meat cannot be seen.
Anyway, I found this new chorizo and well, it was okay. I could tell it was okay because I could cut the casing off pretty easily. And the meat was pretty crumbly when I cooked it. These are the signs of decent chorizo. I just hope January comes quickly! We’re getting a little desperate around here.