Wednesday, March 25, 2009

luly cooks chilaquiles

This morning, ten of us showed up at Linda and Helen's house for a cooking lesson of that favorite brunch dish. Luly is a native Mexican, a wonderful cook and a crackerjack domino player. We all gathered around the tiny outdoor kitchen and sipped strong coffee. Marnie, Helen and Roger chopped. Luly and Roger cooked. Marnie stirred. Roger beat eggs and shredded cheese. Linda took notes. I took photos. The rest ~ Carol, Marie, Patty and Nick ~ supervised.

Before beginning the assembly process there are several steps to be taken. Luly bought fresh tortillas, cut them into triangles, spread them out on paper towels and let them dry overnight.

By the time you are ready to fry them they are dry and will stay crisp. She browned some whole garlic cloves in olive oil, then added the cut-up tortillas and browned them slowly, turning constantly. They get nice and crunchy and will hold up in the eggs. COOK'S NOTE: You can also buy packaged chips prepared especially for chilaquiles if you are in to saving time and work!

Meanwhile, there was lots of chopping going on. Marnie was seeing to the tomatoes, Roger was doing the garlic, and Helen diced up the onions and two Serrano chiles (one with seeds, one without). It was time to start cooking the salsa. In a saucepan, lightly saute the chopped garlic, some of the chopped onions, and the chiles. Add a couple of tablespoons of crushed chicken broth cubes, water, and some ground pepper and simmer while the chips are cooking. This sauce is more liquid than a regular salsa, although still pretty chunky. COOK'S NOTE: The knives used in preparing all these veggies came from a town in Jalisco famous for its cutlery: Sayula, about 120 miles east of here. I think we'll stop there on our way home and buy a couple. They are gorgeous and not too pricey.

The sauce is done when the veggies are medium-soft. It will be nice and spicy. You can make this ahead, refrigerate or freeze for later for use in almost any other Mexican dish you can imagine. They all seem to use a salsa of some kind. In addition, as it sits it gets more picante.

Now it's time to prepare the eggs. Break into a bowl and beat gently with a fork. Add about a teaspoon of the crushed chicken broth cubes. A bit of pepper; no salt. The chicken broth cube takes care of that. If you like a bit more heat, a couple of shakes of Tabasco or other hot sauce will do fine, but remember the salsa that is to come.

Into the frying pan with the perfectly sautéd chips pour the beaten eggs. Don't stir. Let the eggs set slightly, then gently push the chips around to get the rest of the eggs set. They should not be dry or overcooked.

Spoon a serving of the eggs onto a plate, top with a generous helping of salsa, a sprinkling of finely diced onion, chopped cilantro and crumbled queso seco, a dry white cheese that's ubiquitous here. A dry Romano might work at home. On the side, refried beans with raw onions stirred in.

¡Buen provecho! What a morning! What a wonderful meal. That and an ice cold cerveza and you're set for the day.

The full recipe will be available, complete with proportions, as soon as Linda cleans up her notes and passes them on.


At 8:15 AM, Blogger mary ann said...

Wonderful ~ it's almost impossible to find this dish at Mexican restaurants
here in SF. Thanks!


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