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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tomatillo and Chicken Chilaquiles

We finally harvested the last of our miracle tomatillos from our garden.  Peppers do well in our garden in the fall, but these tomatillos have been the most successful thing we've ever grown.  

Chilaquiles (fun to say: chee-lah-KEE-less), like tortilla soup, is another great way to use up stale tortillas.  It's a dish that usually uses corn tortillas, but I used flour tortillas in this. 

Here's what you need:
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
2 jalapeños
2 cloves garlic
1 white onion
olive oil
1 bunch fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
12 small tortillas (corn, whole wheat or flour)
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
4 green onions
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chile powder
salt and pepper
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese

Remove the paper skin from the tomatillos and rinse them well.  Halve the smaller ones and quarter the larger ones.  Halve the jalapeños (remove the seeds if you like but it's not necessary), peel and roughly chop the onion and peel the garlic.  Toss it all together on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  

Place the sheet under the broiler for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are charred and slightly softened.  

Place the charred vegetables in a blender with almost all the cilantro (reserve a handful), the lime juice and some a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  

Remove the centre from the blender lid, cover the hole in the lid with a clean kitchen towel and blend until smooth.  

Preheat the oven to 375F.  
Shred the chicken and sprinkle with the cumin, chili powder and a little salt.  I used a whole roast chicken from the market for this and it makes this very easy.  You can use leftover chicken or poach chicken especially for this.  

Slice the green onions and chop the reserved cilantro and add them to the chicken.  

Slice the tortillas into strips and stir them in as well.

Cover the whole thing with the blended tomatillo sauce, mix it together and place it in a casserole dish.  You can cook the whole thing in a 9 x 13 inch dish, or split it into two portions like I did, and freeze half.  I used two 8 x 8 square dishes and froze one, covered in foil, for another time.    

Top the casserole with shredded cheese, cover with foil and bake at 375 F for 25 minutes.

Once the casserole is warm and bubbly, remove the foil and turn on the broiler for about 2 minutes to brown the cheese.

Let it stand, uncovered for about 5 minutes before serving.  You can top it with sour cream and more cilantro if you like, or just eat as-is.  

It's too bad the tomatillos lose that vivid green colour when they're cooked, but the taste is fantastic!  This is a great way to use up leftover chicken and tortillas, but it's worth it even if you don't have leftovers.  So tasty!  

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