The Best Chilaquiles in the World

by Lisa Rosen on April 7, 2010

Yep, you read that right.  I’ll make that claim.  These are the best.  Ecstatically, lip-tinglingly, last-meal-before-the-gallows kind of good.  Assuming, of course, that you love chilaquiles as much as I do.

Yeah.  So I’m a little evangelical about the chilaquiles.  Sorry about that.  They’re on my all-time top-ten list of comfort foods.  Before I figured out how to make them myself, I’d drive halfway across the state for them.  When I finally did work out how to make them, I could’ve smacked myself–they are unbelievably easy.

What, you ask, are chilaquiles?

Well, they’re basically stale corn tortillas chips, cooked in enchilada sauce till they’re soggy, and topped with whatever other leftovers you have lying around.  In restaurants I’ve had them with shredded chicken, scrambled eggs, or just some shredded cheese.  At home I like them as a vehicle for black beans.  The avocado slices are just gilding the lily, but totally worth it.

This is what Delaney and I had for dinner the night before we started our diet (because I wanted to use up an avocado and some leftover tortillas).   They were soft and savory and creamy and just a little spicy.  We couldn’t have been happier.

Chilaquiles with Black Beans
serves 4 (I froze half the sauce)*

12 corn tortillas (stale is best, because if you have good fresh ones, you should just eat them)

1 28 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 T. chipotle in adobo
2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. ground black pepper
approx. 2 cups chicken broth
1/2 t. sugar

1 can black beans, or 2 cups dried black beans, soaked, cooked, and seasoned however you like them
1 avocado
a sprinkle of monterey jack cheese

You can make the chips and/or the sauce ahead of time, if that’s easiest.

To make the chips, tear each tortilla into quarters.  Place 8-10 quarters on a plate, and microwave for 30 seconds to one minute.  Turn the pieces over, then nuke again for another 30 or so seconds.  You’ll have to try a few batches to see what timing works best in your microwave.  You want them to get hard (they won’t be as crispy as store-bought), but you don’t want to brown them.  If you make them ahead, store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

To make the sauce:  Put the garlic, tomatoes, chipotles, cumin, and pepper in a blender and puree.  Heat a large skillet over medium.  When it’s hot, spray with pan spray, then pour in the puree.  Cook, stirring every minute or so, until the sauce is reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, 5-7 minutes.  Pour in the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until you like the thickness.

When you’re ready to eat, just dump the chips into the sauce, stir well, and let simmer for a few minutes to heat through and soften the chips.  While it’s cooking, heat the beans (I dump a can of beans in a bowl and nuke them for a few minutes–but I’m lazy that way) and cut up the avocado.  For each serving, put a spoonful of the chilaquiles on a plate, and top with beans, cheese (if you’re using it), and avocado.

*This sauce is a riff on the enchilada sauce in Rick Bayless’ excellent Mexican Everyday.  If even this little bit of pureeing and stirring is more than you want to tackle right now, you could use your favorite canned enchilada sauce, but don’t tell Rick I said so.

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