Bryzanne's Chilaquiles

The cost of the Mexican cheese and Mexican cream runs the price of this chicken recipe up a bit unless you are lucky and can get these items cheaper than we can. Using the substitutes for these ingredients brings the price back down.

1.75 lbs. cooked, skinned, deboned, and shredded chicken meat (or just the meat from one, whole boiled chicken)
3 lbs. of tomatoes and 1 8oz. can tomato sauce or 2 lbs. tomatoes and 2 8oz. cans tomato sauce. You could also use canned diced tomatoes if you like but you will still need some tomato sauce.
1 cup of chicken broth or 1 cup water or 1 cup white wine
1/2 a large onion, chopped
1 TBS lime juice
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
black pepper to taste
cilantro to taste (not too much, three TBS coarsely chopped is a good place to start)
1/4 tsp. minced garlic

Topping (and bedding):
Home fried corn tortilla strips or chips or store bought tortilla chips or Fritos (my personal preference--it is infinitely better than it sounds). You'll need plenty of these, you'll be serving your chilaquiles on a bed of fried chips.
8 oz. Panela cheese or any crumbly Mexican cheese--if you can't find this you can use mozzarella instead.
8 ounces Mexican Cream or a cream mixture using a half pint of whipped heavy cream (just until it thickens) blended with 8 ounces of sour cream.

If cooking a whole chicken or chicken breasts, remove the skin and boil with garlic, salt, and onion in the water and reserve a cup of the liquid when the chicken is done. Debone chicken and shred the meat. If using pre-cooked chicken, just move on and use canned broth if you have it, or water or white wine if you don't.

Bring enough water to boil to blanch your tomatoes so they can be peeled. Blanch for up to one minute then remove from boiling water and peel and core them. Chop tomatoes and set aside.

Sauté chopped onion in a bit of olive oil. When they begin to soften and smell good, toss in the garlic and cumin and sauté a minute or two longer then add the rest of the ingredients but not the broth, chips, cheese, and cream. Stir well and simmer for at least ten minutes. Add broth or wine as needed to keep the mixture simmering. You are looking for this mixture to be just thin enough to pour over the chips but not soupy. You don't want excess liquid making your chips overly mushy.

When ready to serve, and not before, prepare each serving on a plate or bowl starting with a bed of chips covered with some of the chilaquiles mixture, crumble Panela cheese on this, then drizzle with Mexican cream or cream mixture and serve immediately. Garnish with cilantro.

The last time I made these I was too hungry to photograph them, but they're actually quite visually appealing. I'll try and shoot them next time.

How to pronounce "chilaquiles"--CHEE-LA-KEE-LAYS.

Chilaquiles are such a popular dish that even Wikipedia has a page on them! It's a dish that varies from region to region, so don't be surprised when you find 100 different ways to prepare it online.

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