So while in Vancouver, we went up to our place at Whistler, and that was the one day I had a chance to make dinner, what with all the going out, the making of food for us that my parents knew we were pining away for, the party, and the occasional day when it was just too late and we were too tired to bother cooking and we just got Chinese.
I made chilaquiles, which are apparently a Mexican hangover food and generally eaten at breakfast, but I wouldn’t know since I’ve never had a Mexican hangover. I actually was completely unaware of this dish until seeing it on Dine and Dish, home of the fabulous Adopt-a-Blogger event, in which I have just been adopted by Kitchenparade. More on that, no doubt, later, as it develops.
Anyway, the chilaquiles looked appetizing to me for two reasons: one, it is essentially Mexican lasagna, and lasagna is awesome; and two, I cooked with tomatillos for the first time a couple of months ago and was a fan, so another recipe using them was welcome. This one called for canned ones, and in my snobbery I thought, well, I’ll just use fresh ones, of course – canned vegetables, pshaw, pshaw. With my nose pointed directly at the sky, I headed off to the grocery store and the produce stores that dot the Vancouver landscape (note: why can’t we get these in Boston? They kick the ass of supermarket veggie departments, and it’s more convenient than the only farmers’ market I know about around here that isn’t during work hours – the one at Haymarket on weekends – which is the other alternative to supermarkets), but I couldn’t find any tomatillos. Not a one. Oh Vancouver, you are only just beginning your love affair with Mexican food – burrito places popping up all over the place all of a sudden – but you have a long way to go. But! My brother’s friend from California had been staying at my family’s place for a bit, and apparently she had left some food, because what was in the pantry but a can of tomatillos! And also a can of chopped green chilies, another of the ingredients. So was this fate or what? I was compelled to make this dish!
Of course I made some changes based on what was on hand/available, and as has been my practice, I’ll write the recipe of what I did. Wow, Adopt-a-Blogger has made me highly explanatory, apparently. The biggest change was that we didn’t have cooked chicken hanging around, and while at the supermarket in Vancouver there was rotisserie chicken in a little plastic box, we held out for non-”barbeque” (I didn’t think that meant it would be flavoured with barbeque sauce, but Matt disagreed), and decided to postpone the chicken purchase until we got to the supermarket at Whistler. But when we got there, there was no cooked chicken. At all. Barbeque or anything else. Even in the frozen food section it was all uncooked, except for some slightly alarming chicken… sticks. They were breaded little tubes of chicken. Terrible for you, no doubt, but at least COOKED, and since it was getting late and everyone – including, by the way, my mother-in-law, who had flown in that afternoon – was starving to death, it was that or me not cooking at all. So we got them. Don’t hit me. I also forgot the parmesan cheese I had picked up earlier in the day. Throw some in if you have some. I’m sure it’s good. And I omitted the cilantro because the smell of that stuff makes my whole face hurt. And I messed up the layering – I forgot that I had to have some tomatillo mixture left at the end to go on top, so my top layer was tortillas instead. Which was maybe for the best – it got all nice and crispy and did a good job of holding the thing together instead of just being a heap of food.
2 cups shredded cooked chicken… of whatever kind you can find
generous 1/2 cup chopped green onions – what, like 3 stalks?
1/2 cup grated pepper Jack cheese – again, feel free to be generous, because cheese is the bomb
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper, which I forgot until the thing was all assembled and just sprinkled it on top
3/4 cup milk
1 11-oz can tomatillos, drained
1 4.5-oz can chopped green chilies
1 tomato, diced
12 6″ tortillas (I believe this is called “fajita size”)
perhaps also some grated cheddar cheese for on top (or inside too), however much you feel is appropriate
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix together chicken, green onions, Jack cheese (and maybe a bit of the cheddar too if you want), salt, pepper, and chili powder in a bowl. Contemplate just forgetting about the rest and eating it straight like that. This is where the parmesan goes as well, if you’re using it.
Blenderize the tomatillos, milk, green chilies, tomato, and cilantro (if using) until smooth.
Spray an 11×7 baking dish with cooking spray.
Ladle a third of your tomatillo mixture into the pan.
If your tortillas are cold and un-bendy, warm them up, but mine were all set so I didn’t heat them. Layer them over the tomatillo mixture – should be 4 to a layer to cover the whole dish.
Cover them with half the chicken mixture.
Repeat the layering until you finish with tortillas.
Sprinkle your extra cheese over the top.
Put it in the oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly; this does not become moot if you, like me, don’t have a tomatillo layer on top. You can totally see the bubbliness of the lower layers around the sides.
It says it serves 4, but there were 4 of us and there was a quarter of the dish left. Then again, none of us are teenaged boys or anything, so who knows. The inner tortilla layers got a bit soggy, though, so I wonder how best to alter this for next time.