Every weekend, weather permitted, we have brunch outside in our apartment’s balcony. It has a nice view to the woods and with a white tablecloth, and some vintage silverware, our table looks royal. Somehow, I always tend to cook a Mexican meal, usually a traditional dish for brunch. During the week you could see a parade of countries represented in a dish in our household. It could be Indian, Thai, Chinese, Greek, Italian, (even take out), you name it. But weekends is another story because it has to be Mexican. Yes!, the flavors that remind us of our home, the comfort food that tells us that life is still good. This is our special time of the week that we cherish and enjoy so much that even my son starts asking us since Friday “what are we having for our next brunch”. He constantly expresses his desire to teach his own children all about the food that his Mom cooked at home, and this blog, in part, is my way to leave a legacy that would help him achieve his wish, one day when he has his family.
But we do not need a special occasion to cook “Chilaquiles”, they are served every day in family homes and many of the five star hotels across México. Either for breakfast or Sunday brunch, “green or read Chilaquiles” are a favorite item on their grand buffets served at the restaurants of these nice chain hotels with familiar names like Marriot, Hilton or Sheraton. And are also a must-have dish at the humble Mexican version of pop and mom dinners. You can find them being cook in a diverse array of salsas, green, red, white, hot, mild, roasted or dry peppers sauce. Every cook has its own version according to their region or favorite family recipe. And it is a great way to use left over tortillas. The name Chilaquiles is derived from the Náhuatl word chil-a-quilitl which means "herbs or greens in chile broth". This dish is so versatile that it gives the cook a good opportunity to be creative. So, do not be shy, go ahead and get your favorite sauce and the tortillas out of the fridge and make yourself some tasty, delicious Mexican Chilaquiles.
Note: For a more real and authentic Chilaquiles taste, use Epazote. I think this is the final touch of the dish, which provides a pungent flavor for a perfect combination with the tomato sauce. (Go easy with it because it has a strong, unique aroma).
Ingredients for 4 servings:
12 tortillas cut into six (preferably dry tortillas left out over the counter the night before)2 cups red or green salsa
1/2 cup Mexican cream
1/2 cup fresh Mexican cheese, crumbled
1 spring epazote
1/3 cup chopped cilantro to garnish
1/3 cup oil
2 slices of an onion, rings separated
Salt to season
1 1/2 cups chicken breast, cooked and shredded (optional)
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and start frying the tortillas until golden and crisp in batches. You might need to do 2 or 3 batches to avoid overcrowding the skillet. Drain the tortillas on paper towels. Repeat the process with the rest of the tortillas.
Clean the skillet with a paper towel, turn the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the sauce and let it cook for 5 minutes. Add the Epazote and season the sauce with salt. Carefully stir in the tortillas to avoid breaking them. Add the chicken (if using) and coat it with the salsa. Cook for 2 more minutes.
Serve garnished with crumble cheese, cilantro, onion and topped with the cream. Serve with "Refried beans". Avocado is also a good addition to the plate.
Oh my, I can eat this chilaquiles every single day. Mmm!.