RECIPE: Chilaquiles Verdes

According to Wikipedia… Chilaquiles is a popular breakfast south of the border. And since I love all foods latin and all foods breakfast this simply sounds A-M-A-Z-I-N-G !!! And although I’ve never eaten this before no better time to “make it my own”.

Other than the tomatillos and the serrano pepper… most of these ingredients were already in the pantry.

First let’s take a look at tomatillos. This was my first time using them… and I’ve learned quite a bit about them today! They are considered a fruit. They grown on vines similar to tomatoes. And they range in size from cherry tomatoes to small vine tomatoes. They aren’t as juicy inside as tomatoes… a bit more dense.

This is what they look like, in 3 stages. 1) The tomatillo still in it’s “paper wrapper”, 2) A tomatillo partially unwrapped and lastly 3) A tomatillo completely stipped of it’s protective cover.

The “paper wrapper” (aka protective cover) peels away very easily. And underneath you find this beautiful jewel.

The paper wrapper is attached at the stem. Peel up towards the stem and snap off… it’s that easy. Once stripped of it’s wrapper you’ll feel a slight sticky texture on the outside of the tomatillo. This can be rinsed off with a slight rub under some lukewarm water.

And now off we go to make the salsa verde… gather your ingredients.

Quick note on the serrano pepper: In the picture below you can see that I split the pepper and removed the seeds/ribs from one half of the pepper. I can sometimes be kind of a wuss when it comes to heat, and since there’s no real way to know how hot a pepper is I erred on the side of caution. If you like more heat, you can certainly leave the seeds/ribs in place. (Confession: I would leave them in there next time. It wasn’t very hot at all.)

I think it’s a good idea to cut the tomatillos in half… this helps to ensure they are fresh. (Practical example to this comes later in this post. Riveting, eh?!)

A quick slice through all of the tomatillos… and EWWW!! What’s that?! That’s a bad tomatillo. Let’s toss that one. It’s not going to do anyone any good at this point…

Everyone in the pot!

Top off with enough water to just barely come to the top of the veggies… and bring to a boil…

Oh! And I forgot about the green onions… I dice up two to throw in the pot. And set aside the 3rd one for garnish at the end.

Now watch closely! The color of green changes rapidly as the vegetables boil down…

And voila! See how quickly that happened? Let it boil down for several minutes, until the veggies are soft. And then remove from the heat to cool slightly.

I pulled out the immersion blender (that I bought at the thrift store!!!) and whirred those little green jewels into submission.

And don’t forget about the important spices!

So at this point the salsa is almost done… but it’s still a little watery. So we’re going to put it in a saute pan with a little oil (so things don’t stick and burn) and then let it reduce slightly. By allowing the salsa to tenderly bubble on the stove the extra moisture evaporates and thickens our salsa. And you want a thick salsa. Let this sit for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly.

While all of that’s going in I’m going to start the plating process. Now, to all of the authentic latin cooks out there… I completely acknowledge the fact that this isn’t truly authentic. But it IS what works for our preferences and tastes.

On a large cookie sheet I am going create a base for our dinner. This is chips (piled in a circular shape) and topped with cheese. Then I slid it under the broiler and waited for the cheese to melt.

So, now I’m doing two things at the same time… and hold on, ‘cuz we’re moving to doing 3 things at the same time. Ready or not, here we go!

It’s time to do the scrambled eggs. This is the quick and easy part. Warm up some butter… toss in the beaten eggs, stir around for about a minute on medium heat… and then remove from the heat. That’s all they need… I promise.

By now the broiler has done it’s job and we can move to the next step.

Let the plating begin…

Transfer your chip/cheese layer to your plate. Top with a few more chips. Add the scrambled eggs.

Ladle on your desired amount of salsa verde, top with cheese. Garnish with green onions, cilantro and sour cream! And dig in!

Some variations include diced/shredded chicken (which is what we tried tonight). And I would rethink that for next time. In fact, I would also use slightly less salsa verde (everything got a litle too runny for my tastes) and not use the chicken next time. But wow was this great!

And for a test run… not bad, if I say so myself!


Chilaquiles Verdes
Recipe by Lori Tisdale

Ingredients

Salsa Verde
8 medium tomatillos (about 1 pound), husked, rinsed , halved
1 serrano pepper, stemmed and halved
1/4 white onion
2 green onions, diced
3 garlic cloves
2 – 2 ½ cups water
Pinch of dried oregano
Pinch of dried thyme
Pinch of cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
Splash of chicken broth
1 tablespoon canola oil

Corn tortilla chips
1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
4 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco or enchilado cheese
1 green onion, diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons sour cream

Instructions
Salsa verde: Place tomatillos, serrano pepper, onion, and garlic in a medium pot and add water to almost cover vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are soft and the tomatillos turn pale green, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

With an immersion blender (or in a blender) puree for a about a minute to blend until all chunks disappear. Add the oregano, thyme, cumin, salt, and broth. Continue to puree until smooth. You should have several cups of salsa verde.

In a large/deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, coat with the canola oil. Once the oil ripples, pour in the salsa verde (be careful to not be splattered with hot oil or salsa). Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring regularly, until the sauce is slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

Under the broiler, slide tortilla chips topped with Monterey jack cheese and allow to melt. While under broiler, scramble the eggs and remove from heat.

Plating: To finish the chilaquiles, transfer chips/cheese onto plate. Top with ¼ cup salsa verde, then eggs, then another spoonful of salsa verde. Sprinkle with the queso fresco, green onion and cilantro. Garnish with sour cream, serve immediately.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

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