Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chipotle Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles are one of my favorite Mexican dishes. They are like really good baked nachos. When I see them on a breakfast menu with a fried egg on top, it is hard for me to not order them. I was flipping through one of my Rick Bayless cookbooks and was surprised to find a recipe for chilaquiles that I had not tried.

A lot of his recipes can be sort of intimidating because he is the master of Mexican food, but his chilaquiles are so simple and ridiculously tasty. This dish is a great casual dinner, a hearty appetizer, or a delicious breakfast with some eggs.

Chipotle Chilaquiles
Recipe courtesy of Rick Bayless, Mexico One Plate At A Time

8 ounces (8 to 12 loosely packed cups, depending on thickness) thick, homemade style tortilla chips
One 28 oz can good-quality whole tomatoes in juice, drained
2 chipotle chiles in adobo
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 large white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup crema, creme fraiche or sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken, preferably grilled, roasted or rotisserie chicken (If you are vegetarian, leave out the chicken and it is just as good.)
1/4 cup queso anejo, or freshly grated romano or parmesan cheese (I used romano and it was perfect.)
2 cups sliced red Swiss chard leaves (I would use a little more next time.)
cilantro for garnish

1. Place tomatoes and chipotle chiles in a blender. Blend to a slightly coarse puree, one that still retains a little texture. You should have about 21/4 cups puree.

2. Set a medium (4 to 5 quart) pot or dutch oven or a large (12 inch) deep skillet over medium heat. Measure in the oil, add half of the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until golden, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another minute, then raise the heat to medium-high heat. Add the tomato puree and stir constantly for 4 to 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens somewhat. Stir in the broth and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let sauce boil for about 2 minutes more. (Cover the pot and turn off the heat if you are not continuing with step 3 right away.)

3. Bring sauce back up to a boil over medium-high heat if you had it covered and set aside. Stir in the chard and tortilla chips, coating all the chips well. Do not overcook and serve immediately. You want the chips to be well coated in the sauce and to soften slightly without getting mushy. The recipe says to spoon the chilaquiles into a bowl and top with the chicken, raw onion, grated cheese, sour cream and cilantro. When I make it again, I may stir in the chicken with the tortilla chips before serving. Either way, I don't think it makes much difference.

We polished off a bottle of Hop Trip, which is a fresh hop pale ale from Deschutes Brewery. Delicious.