Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chilaquiles for a Crowd

An adapted version of the Mexican home-cooking classic, from the rock star, Rick Bayless. 

Yes, it looks like an ungodly mess. Trust me, it's delicious. And easy.

This recipe is unstoppable, whether for 20 people or just you and a friend. It will be gone before you know it.

Serves 12 to 16


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, sliced (divided use)
3 16-ounce jars of salsa, preferably fire-roasted tomatillo salsa
1 quart chicken broth
24 ounces tortilla chips, preferably the rustic home-style ones from a local tortilleria
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican melting cheese (such as Chihuahua) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
2 to 3 cups (10 ounces to a pound) coarsely shredded cooked chicken - I use leftover grilled chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken (optional)
3/4 cup Mexican crema, creme fraiche or sour cream thinned with a little milk or cream
1/2 cup grated Mexican queso anejo or other garnishing cheese such as Romano or Parmesan (optional)
A handful of cilantro leaves, for garnish

In a very large (6-quart) Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high. Add about two thirds of the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until richly browned.
Add the salsa and broth and bring to a boil. When the sauce is at a rolling boil, turn off the heat and stir in the chips and shredded cheese. Press the chips down to ensure that nearly all are submerged; a few on the top may still be sticking out.
Strew the chicken over the top, cover and let stand for 3 or 4 minutes. Gently stir everything together, then drizzle with the crema, and sprinkle with the onion, optional grated queso anejo and cilantro. Serve without hesitation.

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