Chee-lah-KEE-less! Oh, how my heart warms at the sound of one of Mexican cuisine’s greatest foods being uttered. If you’re wondering what the heck they are, they’re corn tortillas cut in quarters and lightly fried. You can make them vegetarian or add any number of meat and fish fillings (chicken, pork, shrimp). If you’re thinking they sound a lot like other Mexican dishes, well, you are indeed correct. The tortilla is the heart and soul of Mexican cuisine so yes, it’s found just about everywhere!
Harken back to the summer. (Was there really such a time? It’s always hard to remember those warm days when today, it was frigid on my drive home from Pittsburgh’s downtown, the precipitation a cross between rain and snow. How I yearn for those sunny Arizona days!) Over Fourth of July weekend I made what was probably one of my favorite dishes of 2017-shrimp chilaquiles. The recipe came from my Elote Cafe Cookbook (to access the other recipe I made from it this year, click here). Even though I didn’t get to eat there, you can bet that when I return to Sedona, I’ll be dining there some evening.
Like most of the recipes I’ve perused in the Elote Cafe Cookbook, these chilaquiles were super simple (almost effortless) to make. You know it’s a good sign when the recipe comprises only two paragraphs and I don’t mean Tolstoy-length paragraphs. I served these with margaritas I made (courtesy of a delicious margarita mix I bought from Williams Sonoma) and salsa from a salsa mix packet I bought out in Arizona (I couldn’t make the salsa for just any ‘ol thing).
Make these chilaquiles and I promise you’ll be dreaming of those desert landscapes (and warm temperatures, definitely those) in no time!
Recipe courtesy of The Elote Cafe Cookbook by Jeff Smedstad
6 tortillas cut into strips 1 to 2 inches wide
Corn oil for toasting the tortillas
FOR THE SALSA VERDE (green salsa)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 arbol chiles
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Pinch of kosher salt
2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
8 tomatillos, husked
12 large shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 cup shredded Oaxacan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes , sliced radishes, pickled onions (to garnish)
-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the tortilla strips with a little corn oil and bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or so until lightly toasted. Reserve. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan to medium high and saute the chiles, onion, and garlic until softened. Add the stock, salt, oregano, and tomatillos, bring to a simmer, and cook until tomatillos are soft. Puree.
-In a large saute pan over high heat, cook the shrimp till they are about halfway done, then add the sauce, fresh ground pepper, and tortillas. Stir and simmer until tortillas are softened, then transfer to a large ovenproof plate and top with cheese. Bake 10 minutes at 375 until the cheese is melted. Top with the sour cream and cilantro, then garnishes.