Got Tortilla Chips? Make Chilaquiles!

I understand that Super Bowl Sunday is a day devoted to snacking excess.  But when it’s all over, and you’re looking to recover with a healthy meal this week, try this recipe.  (Or make it right away without the cheese to knock the socks off the vegans at your Super Bowl party–in which case you should call it “Vegan Nachos.”)

I don’t think that this bowl of spicy, smoky, chipotle-spiked deliciousness technically qualifies as chilaquiles, but that’s what we call it.  And it’s what Jack Bishop calls it in A Year in A Vegetarian Kitchen.  Based on my exhaustive research (read: eating my way through Oaxaca a few years ago), this dish may really be closer to enfrijoladas.  But whatever.  I’m no purist.  You can do some research on Wikipedia and make your own decision.

A few notes on the ingredients.  A more authentic recipe would have you quarter corn tortillas and fry them (or, more realistically around here, bake them in the oven) until crisp.  But THIS recipe uses tortilla chips.  It’s a time-saving shortcut, and you are going to have all those leftover bags of chips after your Super Bowl party.  But if you prefer to start with corn tortillas, more power to you, just brush both sides with oil, sprinkle with salt, cut them into 1/2″ by 2″ strips and bake them at 350 until they start to crisp (maybe 10-13 minutes), then set them aside to cool while you do the rest.  And about the chipotle puree: buy a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, scrape the entire contents into your blender, and whizz to a puree.  Keep it in a jar in your fridge.  Use it on everything.  Now back to the chilaquiles.

The backbone of this Chilaquiles recipe is your pot of beans.  Chop a big onion and brown it in a pot over medium-high heat.  When the onion gets a few shades past golden brown, mix in 5 minced garlic cloves and 1-2 tsp. chipotle puree. Notice that your kitchen is starting to smell great.  Add 4 cups cooked or canned black beans (if you cooked the beans yourself, add the liquid.  If they’re canned, drain and rinse them).  Add enough additional water to nearly cover the beans.  Add 1/2 to 1 1/2 tsp. salt (depending on whether the the beans are already salted) and simmer for about 20 mins to blend the flavors.  Puree with an immersion blender and add more salt to taste.  Serve with tortilla chips and assorted toppings: salsas, mexican crema (or sour cream thinned with milk), diced avocado, lime wedges, queso fresco or feta cheese and chopped cilantro.  The photo above also shows a bowl of pickled onions and hot peppers I had left over from making fish tacos.  Everyone grabs a bowl, adds a handful of chips and a ladle of beans, then toppings to taste.  Buen provecho!


4 thoughts on “Got Tortilla Chips? Make Chilaquiles!

  1. Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

    This recipe sounds fantastic! At my house, we just drench our chilaquiles in roasted tomatillo salsa, and then top them with a fried egg (or two) and a sprinkle of cheese (queso fresco if we have it in the house, otherwise some grated generic Mexican blend will do).

    For vegan visitors, we’ve whipped up some guacamole to take the place of the egg & cheese. But we rarely add beans to it… only if we have some extra cooked beans in the fridge. I guess we’re missing the “backbone” of your recipe– I want to try out your version soon too!


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