I was watching Daisy Cooks! on PBS the other day and my mouth began to water as Daisy Martinez made her Chicken Chilaquiles. Daisy was so excited that she was dancing around and singing "Chilaquiles, chilaquiles"! Her enthusiasm inspired me.
Last Friday we were going to attend a pot luck dinner party at a friend's house and I couldn't wait to make this recipe. With only a few minor adjustments I followed Daisy's method. This recipe takes some time; however, you could easily make a quicker version by using tortilla chips and your favorite store bought green enchilada sauce.
This homemade tomatillo sauce is very refreshing when you use cilantro and mint. I decreased the mint and increased the jalapeno in order to give it more of a kick. Feel free to play with the proportions to make it to your liking. Here is the recipe I used or you can view Daisy's original recipe on her website:
For the sauce:
- 1 ½ pounds tomatillos, peeled, washed and cut into chunks
- 1 medium Spanish onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/4 cup (about 8-10) mint leaves
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems and all, very roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium jalapeños, cored and seeded
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
- Ten 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 2-inch wide strips
- 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- Canola/vegetable oil for frying
Add tomatillos to blender and puree until it liquefies. In batches, add the onion, mint, cilantro, jalapeno and garlic - blending until smooth. Pour sauce into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then lower heat and let sauce simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Set aside about 1/2-3/4 cup of the cooked tomatillo sauce then stir the shredded chicken into the remaining sauce in the pot.
Pour about 1/4 inch of canola oil in a deep heavy skillet and warm on medium heat. Oil temperature should be around 350° F. If you do not have a thermometer, simply dip a corner of one of the tortilla strips into the oil to see if it begins to sizzle.
Working in batches, fry the tortilla strips until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side). Remove and drain on paper towels or on a paper bag.
Butter a deep rectangle casserole dish and begin making layers. Start with the fried tortilla strips, then 1/2 of the chicken and tomatillo sauce, then 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat process. Finish the top layer with the tortillas, the reserved sauce, and the final layer of cheese.
Bake in a 350° F oven until the top is golden brown, about 25-35 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!!
Makes 6 servings