I’m back from a faboo 2 week “beverage research” trip in Ireland and am happy to return to the stove. In the next few weeks, I’ll post some recipes inspired by my trip, I promise.
This week, I am part of a new frontier in blogging called a Virtual Potluck. The lovely Miss Tara Mataraza Desmond (of Crumbs On My Keyboard) asked some other top notch bloggers to cook and blog about meals from her very clever book, Almost Meatless- 60 + Recipes That Are Better For You And The Planet (Ten Speed Press, 2009) . Perfect fodder for some mixed-diet cooking, don’t you think? Go to her blog for links to the other bloggers’ potluck posts, it should be quite interesting to see all of them. photo copyright Gregor Torrence, 2009
Ever since we got back stateside, Mr. Tofu and I have been craving Mexican food like nobody’s business. So, I chose Tara’s recipe for chilaquiles topped with eggs to share with you this week. Chilaquiles are an ingenious way to use up leftover stale corn tortillas; simply fry them in a bit of oil, dunk them something like Rick Bayless’ Guajillo chile sauce, and layer with cheese, chicken, eggs, or whatever else you have on hand. Tara’s recipe streamlines the sauce, so instead of the hours soaking dried chilies and simmering you would normally spend on this rustic dish, she whizzes everything in a blender and simmers the sauce just 15 minutes. Smart. Very smart.
The recipe calls for you to top off the stacks of saucy tortillas with scrambled, poached, or fried eggs. While that works for my egg-loving vegetarian husband, I myself don’t like eggs so much, especially after seeing the sorry overcooked excuses for eggs set out in the hotels’ breakfast buffets in Ireland. Blech. So in a funny twist to the mixed-diet cooking thing, my portion had a substitution– slices of ripe avocado instead of egg. If you’re cooking for a vegan, you can go that route and substitute vegan sour cream for the crema and leave out the cheese in their portion, too.
I must admit that the sauce wasn’t quite spicy enough for us. That’s probably because we’re starved for spicy food, though. We found that lashings of our favorite hot sauce, Valentina black label, rounded out this delicious meal famously.
Traditional recipes for chilaquiles call for a mélange of ingredients simmered with dried and fried tortillas in red or green sauce. this version employs the same flavors in a different presentation. Eggs any style—poached, fried, sunny-side up, or scrambled—top off the crisp tortillas painted with deep red sauce. A drizzle of Mexican crema (or a dollop of sour cream) and a crumble of queso fresco round out the stacks for a delicious breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. Feel free to toast the tortillas in a 375°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes if you’d rather not fry them.
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
11/2 cups dried black beans, cooked, or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed
1 cup vegetable oil
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
4 to 8 eggs
1 cup crumbled queso fresco or Cotija cheese
1/2 cup crema or sour cream
To make the sauce, put the tomatoes, jalapeño, shallot, and garlic in a blender and process until smooth. Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Pour the blended mixture into the pan, stir in the black beans, and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.
To prepare the chilaquiles, heat the oil to 350°F in a deep pot or dutch oven. Gently lower one or two tortillas into the hot oil with a pair of metal tongs and fry for about 1 minute on each side, until golden. Remove from the oil and transfer to a cooling rack lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Prepare the eggs to order for each serving (see headnote above). Place a tortilla on a plate, ladle about 1/4 cup of the sauce on top, sprinkle with cheese, and add a dollop of crema. Stack a second tortilla on top of that layer, creating another in the same manner. Top with an egg and serve.
tip No deep fry thermometer? You can determine the temperature of the oil by sticking the handle of a wooden spoon in the hot oil. If it’s at just the right frying temperature, a steady stream of bubbles will come up from the handle. If it’s not quite hot enough, just a few tiny bubbles will appear, whereas if the oil is too hot, it will spurt and sputter around the spoon.
(Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press and the authors)