Category Archives: Mexico

Mexican Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles have become one of my favorite things to try at a Mexican restaurant. Each restaurant makes them very differently, but they’re always delicious. It’s a nice break from the more common enchiladas and tacos. At the core of chilaquiles is tortilla chips cooked in a chile sauce until they are softened, and topped with sour cream and/or queso fresco to serve.  About a month ago, I decided I really should learn to make this wonderful dish at home.

Coincidentally in last month’s Foodie Penpal box of goodies, I received this can of El Pato hot sauce, along with a note from my penpal saying she uses this to make chilaquiles. Upon request, she sent me a link to an easy chilaquiles recipe that is similar to the one she makes. I’ve tried them twice since then – once with a red salsa and once with salsa verde.

The recipe starts by sauteeing some onion and garlic and making a sauce to the desired level of spicy-ness. The easiest way to do this is to choose a favorite salsa. For the red, I mixed some of the hot El Pato sauce with a mild salsa – that El Pato sauce has quite a kick! For the green chilaquiles, I used a salsa verde with lime (that tartness was a nice addition). Yellow tortilla chips are gradually stirred into the sauce to cover them. Thick tortilla chips will hold their shape best.

Once all the chips are stirred into the sauce and starting to soften, you put the dish in the oven to bake and absorb all the liquid. I added shredded chicken at that point. After baking, I sprinkled it with queso fresco and cilantro. The linked recipe shows another version topped with eggs. This first time, the recipe turned out very salty because I added some salt – forgetting that the tortilla chips are very high in salt to start with.

Here’s how the green chile version turned out (below). I cooked the chicken in the sauce first (adding a bit of extra water to compensate for the extra cooking time) then continued following the recipe, adding no extra salt. They were delicious!  If you’re watching your salt, or want to try making chilaquiles more traditionally, start with corn tortillas and fry up your own chips.

It’s funny, as I started reading about Mexican chilaquiles I saw that they are a typical breakfast food, and it clicked for me why I enjoy them so much. Unknowingly, I have actually been making a scrambled eggs version of chilaquiles for many years. Here’s what I like to do sometimes for a quick breakfast;

Karin’s Chilaquile Scramble
onion and/or sweet pepper, a few thin slices
2 eggs, beaten
1 small corn tortilla
salsa
shredded cheese

Start by sauteeing onion and sweet peppers in a small non-stick pan. Tear the corn tortilla into small pieces and soak briefly with the eggs in a bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of your favorite salsa (sometimes I add more hot pepper, chile powder, and/or cumin for a stronger kick). Add the egg mixture to the pan with onion and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally. I like to cook them until pretty dry so that the tortilla pieces start browning. Add shredded cheese at the end and stir long enough to melt. Top with cilantro, salt to taste, a dollop of sour cream, and enjoy!

Treats from Arizona

I didn’t have time to write and share about this last month, but May is my second month participating in a Foodie Penpals exchange, started last year by a fellow blogger, Lindsay. You can find details about the penpals program on her blog; http://www.theleangreenbean.com/  Basically, you get matched up with two people each month, one of whom sends you a box of goodies, and another that you prepare a box for – with a limit of $15 of food items.

This month I was paired up to receive a box from Tenecia in Arizona. I have to admit that when I first looked at her blog I worried that I might receive a box full of health bars and protein powder :)  However, my fears were quickly allayed when I got my first email from Tenecia asking if I liked spicy foods, and Mexican foods – to which I quickly replied yes, and yes!  A couple of weeks later I received this delicious box of Southwestern/Mexican goodies.

The first thing I dug into was the flour tortillas. I had some leftover chili at home so I made a couple of great chili burritos, quesadillas, and actually even ate a couple of these tortillas just plain or with a little honey. They’re that good!

The tea is not something I would have picked up for myself, because on the box they make it sound very flower-y. But it has a gentle flavor and aroma which I’m enjoying, and it’s nice to have a different caffeine free option since I mostly avoid caffeine!

I had just made a big crockpot of chili the weekend before receiving this box, and noticed that I was running out of red chile powder, so the New Mexican chile powder will be great to refill that bottle (and so much better tasting than any “regular” chile powder I might buy in the McCormick section at the grocery store). Haven’t tried it yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

The other fun coincidence is that I had just been thinking the previous week that I wanted to learn to make a Mexican dish called chilaquiles. In the note included with this package, Tenecia mentioned that she likes to use the El Pato Sauce for chilaquiles. Haven’t gotten to make these yet, but I’m hoping to give it a try this weekend, and will blog to share the recipe with you all.

Overall a great box, and I plan to use everything in it – even the Arizona Gunslinger hot sauce (in moderation)! Thanks so much, Tenecia!

International Festival, Friday

Just a short posting of the food I ate at the International Festival this evening (Friday). Come on out this weekend and try some for yourself!!

Yakisoba noodles from the Japanese food booth, garnished with pickled ginger and fish flakes (optional).

Sour Cherry Juice from the Turkish booth, reminds me of the sour cherry trees in my dad’s orchard when we were growing up.

Coconut Custard (left) and Cheese Roll stuffed with cream cheese (right), from the Brazilian food booth. Double-yum!

Huachinango a la Veracruzana or Red Snapper, Veracruz-style (made at the Cooking Demo booth by a chef from Mexico City, arranged by the Mexican consulate). This was delicious! Definitely making this one at home.