January 3, 2009


I remember very clearly the first time I had chilaquiles, a staple in Mexico not frequently found at Mexican restaurants in the U.S. I was 18 and living in Mexico City on my first stint studying abroad. A group of other students and I had reservations at the Hotel Majestic for brunch, purely for the direct view of the Zocalo--historic Mexico City's expansive main square. We were able to watch Ruben Blades perform (part of a series of free summer concerts) from above the fray of thousands--while enjoying breakfast. The music was good, but the chilaquiles ended up stealing the show.

Chilaquiles come in many forms: red sauce or green sauce, with eggs without eggs, with chicken or other meat or vegetarian. But my favorite remains the way I originally experienced them: with green sauce, chicken and no eggs. Traveling throughout Mexico, I'd always order them when I found the right combo. The other versions are not bad by any means, but with the green sauce they're transcendent.

Awhile ago, Mark and I made a version of chilaquiles with shrimp roughly adapted from my Dona Tomas cookbook. We used homemade totopos, tortilla chips, from the same. It may have been the best version I've ever had--and that's saying something. (NOTE: There are delicious chilaquiles offered at La Bamba on SE 49th and Division in Portland.)

For the chilaquiles:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cups (or so) chile verde enchilada sauce
  • 10 ounces corn tortilla chips
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (Monterey Jack is recommended, but we used cheddar)
  • 1/4 thinly sliced white onions
  • 1/3 cup crumbed Cotija cheese (worth getting for authenticity's sake)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup crema or sour cream
  1. Add the oil to a skillet over high heat.
  2. Add about 2 cups of green sauce. Bring to a boil, then add tortilla chips. Saute the chips in the sauce for about 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until the chips absorb the sauce.
  3. Continue to add sauce until all the chips are well coated but not soupy. You may not need all of the sauce.
  4. Add the grated cheese and stir once or twice util barely melted. Transfer to a serving plate or individual plates.
  5. Sprinkle with onion, Cotija and cilantro. Drizzle with crema. Top with shrimp or chicken. Die of happiness.
For the shrimp:

  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 1 pound frozen shrimp
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons unslated butter
  • 1 jalapeno chile, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • Lime
  1. Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add the oil and onion--quickly stir 2-3 times. Add the shrimp and a few dashes of salt. Saute for a minute.
  2. Add the butter, jalapeno and garlic. Saute for a minute, until butter melts and the garlic releases it's aroma and shrimp are done.
  3. Serve on top of your chilaquiles.

1 comment:

  1. I don't even know what these are, but I think I will find out soon. Michelle pretty much flipped out when she saw this posting, since she is also a devout chilaquiles fan. I can't wait!


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