This is a Mexican dish originally created to use leftovers. Tortillas, chicken, cheese and chiles are layered to make a casserole-style dish. But don’t use the word “casserole” with your family, because if they are anything like mine they will refuse to eat it at the sound of this word.
I like to prepare my own green salsa with canned or fresh tomatillos, but you can use your favorite prepared green salsa to save time. I also like to cut up fresh corn tortillas and fry them in vegetable oil, instead of using tortilla chips, but this can take too much time if you are in a hurry. So I suggest using your favorite tortilla chips. Ready-made tostada shells broken into pieces are another option.
If you haven’t tasted Crema Agria now is a good time. It is a Mexican-style sour cream with a characteristic tangy flavor and rich, thick texture.
Leftover roast chicken saves preparation time if you happen to have it in your refrigerator (or plan to make chilaquiles the night after you have roast chicken).
- 12 ounce can whole tomatillos, drained (available in Mexican section of many grocery stores) or 8 medium size fresh tomatillos
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeño pepper, halved and seeded and cut into several pieces (use two if you want it spicier)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken*
- 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2 cups)
- ¾ cup cottage cheese
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 cups best quality tortilla chips*
- Crema Agria sour cream*
- Puree tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic and cumin in a food processor until smooth; set aside.
- Toss together chicken, half of the Monterey Jack cheese, cottage cheese and green onions; season with salt and pepper; fold in the tomatillo puree. Spread evenly in the bottom of 13x9-inch baking pan.
- Sprinkle tortilla chips over the chicken mixture. Top with remaining Monterey Jack cheese.
- Cover and bake at 375 degrees F. until heated, about 20 minutes; uncover and bake an additional ten minutes.
- Serve topped with sour cream and salsa.
*To fry tortilla chips: begin with six corn tortillas. Cut tortillas in half and then into triangles or cut into thin strips. Heat about 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy pan over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Fry cut tortillas, in batches, in the oil until crisp and lightly browned; remove to paper towels to drain; sprinkle with salt.
*Crema Agria sour cream is available in the dairy section of many grocery stores.