It’s Chee-la-kee-les, and for every Mexican grandmother or mother in the world, there exists a different recipe for them. What are chilaquiles? Fried tortilla strips (or triangles) cooked in salsa often mixed with other meat, eggs, or vegetables. Not only are they a great way to use up old tortillas (though new ones are fine too), but allegedly they cure hangovers too. Not that I would have any experience with that.
There’s a spectrum for how people like their chilaquiles.
Very soggy–soggy–somewhat soggy–somewhat crispy–crispy–very crispy.
And yes, there exists shades of gray between each of these categories. I like mine somewhat soggy, otherwise I’d just be eating chips and salsa. If you want crispier options, see the note at the end of this post.
Printable Recipe: Chilaquiles Verdes
You’ll need some Salsa Verde first. Click the link if you don’t know how to make it, but the printable recipe also explains how to make fresh Salsa Verde in step 1. Basically pulse tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro, salt, and jalapenos until it liquifies but not so much that it becomes one uniform green salsa; we want to be able to see the bits and pieces.
Cut them in half.
Then make strips from those halves about 1/2″ wide.
If you prefer triangle over oddly shaped rectangles, you can do that with your tortillas.
Heat up 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil over high heat. Add half of the tortillas strips.
Move ‘um around to make a single layer. As best you can.
Now DON’T TOUCH for 3-4 minutes. They are frying up, edges start crisping, but some parts stay soft. After 3-4 minutes, move them around with a wooden spoon and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Cook longer for crispier tortillas, but you may also have to use more oil.
Drain them on a paper towel and sprinkle on salt.
Repeat with another 1/4 cup of oil and the rest of the tortillas. Set the just barely crisped tortillas aside until the last moment of cooking when we will put them in at the end to maintain those bits of crunch.
Now, let’s attempt to make chilaquiles healthy. It is not an oxymoron. We’ve got zucchini.
And a sweet bell pepper. This is a gypsy pepper.
Add the Salsa Verde and swish it around to coat everything.
Cook for another 3 minutes so some of the excess water can evaporate out.
When you are ready to serve, add the tortilla strips. This way parts of the strips will retain their crispiness integrity, but the softer parts will soak up the Salsa Verde.
Coat the tortilla strips with vegetables and Salsa Verde. Cook a couple minutes until heated through. Eat as needed to alleviate hangovers, I mean to use up leftover tortillas.
Variations: Add tofu, cooked meat, scrambled egg, or top with a fried egg for a more substantial meal.
Note at the end of the post: For crispier chilaquiles, use tortilla chips or broken tostada pieces, or fry the tortilla strips in smaller batches and in more oil. Don’t mix the fried tortillas and salsa until the absolute last minute you want it, unless you like your chilaquiles very soft.