Chilaquiles, the original nacho

The summer before my freshman year of college I spent about a month in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, which is a beautiful, idyllic colonial town in Central Mexico. While I was there I did many things - I think I actually had a job, but I don't really remember. I did many things, but the main things I remember are the foods that I ate.  On my last night there, I ate 12 tacos al pastor, which are tacos filled with this life-changing spit-roasted Mexican mystery pork-meat.  Underneath the spit they put an ENTIRE PINEAPPLE and then the mystery meat juice drips all over and it is the most special thing in the world.

I know you're now frustrated because this post does not appear to be about tacos al pastor and you're correct.  It is not about tacos al pastor.  But it is about another thing that Mexico has added to the world that we should be worshipping.

The morning I left, I ate my final plate of chilaquiles, which are the lovechild of nachos and enchiladas aka literally what could be better?  The answer is NOTHING.  Basically we're taking the idea of nachos a little further and also making them into a breakfast food.  You need to eat them yesterday.  Your choices include:  cooking this recipe right now or flying to Mexico.  if you're going to mexico, can I come?  Because I don't know about you, but that is out of my budget.

Let's talk for one second about what we eat for breakfast.  It is a limited food genre and I think that we need to liberate ourselves from the tiny breakfast box that the world is trying to put us in.  We're better than that and we deserve more.

Last year for a REAL academic class, I wrote a paper about chilaquiles that included me attempting to recreate them completely from scratch – isn’t academia SO FUN? 

It was not, as it turns out, worth it.  You should definitely buy your own tortilla chips, or at least your own tortillas and then fry them.  But that’s not what I’m advising here.  I’m only advising that you should definitely make your own VERY SIMPLE salsa verde using 5 ingredients.

SALSA VERDE

  • 4 large tomatillos (about the size of a tennis ball)
  • 1 white onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Turn oven onto broil, coat all ingredients (except chicken stock and salt and pepper) in olive oil and place under broiler.  Check and turn every 5 minutes, removing things as they become lightly charred.  Combine everything in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  You just made salsa, which you may have previously thought came only out of a jar. (You were wrong.)

CHILAQUILES

  • 2 large handfuls tortilla chips
  • ½ cup cheese (oaxacan melting cheese is preferable but any mild melting cheese will work)
  • ½ cup refried beans
  • possible garnishes: lime, avocado, radish, chopped chicken, fried egg

Place one large handful of chips in the bottom of a cast iron skillet.  Add half the cheese and half the refried beans on top, then pour about ½ cup of the salsa over.  Repeat to make another layer, but this time add the cheese last.

Broil 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Add your chosen garnishes and NOSH!