Tag Archives: corn tortillas

GREEN CHICKEN CHILAQUILES

Chilaquiles are a dish that you make with leftovers. The basic recipe calls for three ingredients: stale corn tortillas, salsa (either red or green), and cheese. It is perfect for breakfast. The first time I ever had it was when a community health worker brought  a hot casserole to a staff breakfast in our clinic in the colonias southeast of El Paso. Since then, I have had chilaquiles many times in Saltillo, Mexico, gatherings in many small towns, and in Santa Fe.

The beauty of the dish is that you can dress it up as much as you wish with lots of other ingredients. That way you can turn it into a party dish. In fact, Texans have done just that. The famous Texas buffet dish, King Ranch Chicken, is basically chilaquiles made with canned mushroom, chicken, and celery soups instead of salsa.

Chilaquiles are perfect for cleaning out the refrigerator (It seems like I am always cleaning out the refrigerator). That is exactly what I did in anticipation of “Senior Day” at the local grocery store when the elderly (me) get a 10% discount on their grocery bill. I had a big can of El Pato brand green enchilada sauce (The Duck, hecho in México) that had been sitting in the pantry for months if not years. I also had a lot of stale corn tortillas. Of course I always have a bunch of stale corn tortillas. As to the enchilada sauce, it was way too vinegary for my taste. You would be better off to make your own. But then this would no longer be a recipe that you can toss together after you get home from work. I also had some cooked chicken, scallions, and snacking peppers that needed to be used. The only other ingredient I needed was cheese. For this dish I cheated and got shredded Mexican cheese from the grocery store. This is a combination of Cheddar, Monterrey jack, queso de quesadilla, and asadero that they sell for tacos and enchiladas. Again, you can just grate your own. Mozzarella works for asadero. Mushrooms would be a good addition. Just let your imagination and what needs to be used up be your guides. Here’s the recipe.

RECIPE

Green Chicken Chilaquiles

Ingredients

  • stale corn tortillas, about 1 dozen
  • vegetable oil
  • 28 ounces (one large can) green enchilada sauce
  • snacking peppers, about 10, sliced thinly
  • 6 scallions, cleaned and sliced, including the green tops
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • Mexican shredded cheese, about ¾ pound
  • sour cream
  • fried eggs, preferably sunny-side up (optional)

Method

  1. Cut the tortillas into eighths and fry in the vegetable oil until lightly crisp. Drain and set aside.
  2. Lightly oil a 12 x 8 inch glass baking pan and place a thin layer of the enchilada sauce on the bottom.
  3. Arrange 1/3 of the tortilla pieces over the sauce so that it is completely covered.
  4. Arrange ½ of the sliced snacking peppers on top. Then a layer of ½ of the sliced scallions, ½ of the shredded chicken, and 1/3 of the grated cheese.  Dot with generous dabs of sour cream. Top with 1/3 of the remaining enchilada sauce.
  5. Arrange another layer of tortilla pieces on top. Then repeat the peppers, scallions, chicken, cheese, sour cream, and half of the remaining enchilada sauce.
  6. Arrange the final layer of tortilla pieces on top and cover with the remaining enchilada sauce. Generously sprinkle grated cheese over the top.
  7. Bake in the middle of an oven preheated to 350°F for one hour. Remove from the oven, and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve, topped with the optional fried eggs if desired.
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QUESO FUNDIDO (MELTED CHEESE)/QUESO FLAMEADO (FLAMED CHEESE)

 

This is one of the easiest recipes around, but it is also easy to mess up. When it is done properly it cam be ethereal. The first time I ever had it was some thirty years ago in Tlaquepaque, Mexico, a small town filled with artisans on the outskirts of Guadalajara. We had taken our children and one of their friends on a family vacation to the Mexican west coast, and this was to be our day of tourist shopping. The array of handmade goods was overwhelming. There were weavings, pottery, jewelry, worked silver, paper flowers, hand-made furniture, and the requisite “onyx” chess sets.

After a full morning of going from one vendor’s stall to another, everyone was ready for lunch. We chose a huge open air restaurant, partly because there were enough vacant seats for all of us.

The first thing we ordered was queso fundido and freshly made corn tortillas to snack on with drinks until our main dishes came. Dipping browned and molten cheese out of a dish and heaping it on a warm tortilla was a treat for all of us. There was crumbled crisp chorizo on top, but no chiles and no spice. It was just plain good eating.  We ate quickly, and that was a good thing. When queso fundido cools off, it can set up into a solid chunk of cheese.

Since then, I have enjoyed queso fundido, aka queso flameado in many places along the US-Mexico Border. Most of those versions have been good, but none as good as that in Tlaquepaque. The dish is not to be confused with another stalwart, chile con queso. In its traditional form, that dish includes melted cheese and roasted green chiles. Neither queso fundido nor chile con queso is to be confused with versions you are likely to see in fast-food Mexican restaurants: Ro-Tel mixed with melted Velveeta, or worse, Cheez Whiz mixed with bottled taco sauce.

When you make your own queso fundido, use authentic asadero cheese if you can find it, Mexican chorizo of the best quality, and corn tortillas that you make yourself.None of that is really very hard. If you can’t find asadero cheese, any yellow melting cheese like Monterey jack, American Muenster, or mozzarella will do.

Serve with your favorite salsa or even guacamole or both.

RECIPE

Queso Fundido

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces asadero cheese, coarsely grated
  • ¼ pound Mexican (not Spanish) chorizo, crumbled and lightly browned

Method

  1. Heat a shallow baking dish, about 9 inches across, in the middle of an oven preheated to 375°F for about 5 minutes or until hot.
  2. Remove the heated dish from the oven. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly in the dish. Top with chorizo, and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and lightly browned.
  3. Remove from the oven. Set on a heat-resistant surface. Serve immediately with warm fresh corn tortillas and spoons for dipping the melted cheese.

 

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BLUE CORNMEAL WAFFLES WITH PINE NUTS AND BACON

Food with blue corn in it is always popular when family comes to visit. Blue  corn tortillas are ubiquitous, and blue corn chicken enchiladas with green chile sauce and a fried egg is one of my all-time favorites. Blue cornmeal pancakes are also good. Add pine nuts  and you have a classic New Mexico combination. During her recent visit, Carol specifically requested blue cornmeal waffles,  so of course I had to accommodate her.

RECIPE

Blue Cornmeal  Waffles with Pine Nuts and Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup blue corn meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons, bacon drippings, melted
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • ½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • ½ cup crumbled crisp-fried bacon

Method

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, soda, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, syrup, bacon drippings and 2 yolks from the separated eggs
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined.
  4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold in thirds into the batter being careful not to overbeat.
  5. Fold in the pine nuts and bacon pieces
  6. Spoon a little more of the batter than recommended by the manufacturer into a hot waffle iron. Bake until golden brown.
  7. Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup. Eggs and bacon on the side is a nice addition
  8. Makes about twelve 4-inch square waffles.

 

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