Chilaquiles with Sweet Potato and Salsa Verde are a delicious and unique cornucopia of textures and flavors that anyone with a taste for Mexican food will adore. Affiliate links were used in this post to link to items I am discussing.
Long time readers of this blog know that I love chilaquiles. Crispy tortilla chips cooked into various types of Mexican sauces are right up my alley. Several years ago I was complaining about mushy chilaquiles I had been served when someone on Facebook said but that is how they are supposed to be. Interesting. Most definitely not at my favorite taqueria, but it did engender a discussion on the topic, and it seemed to be split 50/50. So how are they supposed to be served in Mexico? I have no idea, I assume it is either regional or to the taste of the cook! And this cook does not like mushy chilaquiles. Or soupy ones really. I like the tortilla chips to be cooked just enough that they bend and give a little, but still have a crunchy core when you chew. Mmmmm… For a texture fiend like me, chilaquiles are pure heaven.
I was immediately struck by this recipe in Food Network Kitchens Cookbook, which I had just picked up used for $2(!). Have I mentioned how much I love Half Price Books? Anyway, I was immediately struck because it called for pumpkin, which I had never seen or considered in chilaquiles. And no it was not in a Mexican cookbook, so I have no idea if Mexicans have ever considered them either, but I did think they sounded good. However, to me it is not pumpkin season yet, especially not a week or so ago when I served this, so I used sweet potato.
My main changes to the recipe (aside from the sweet potato) came in 2 ways: first, I griddle cooked all of the ingredients in the salsa verde to give it more depth of flavor and a more interesting flavor. The second change is, as discussed above, I did not want soupy, mushy chilaquiles. I specifically wanted the crispy fresh fried chips to be the star in a yummy salsa verde sauce. So I (well, John) purchased restaurant made fresh fried chips, I added more chips, I cooked the salsa down a bit more, stuff like that. How you make them is your call.
If you are wondering, this is before the chips are added.
And the verdict? We loved this. My guests loved it, and so did John and I. Alex was not home, and Sammy, well, Sammy was so over the moon for the refried beans that she never gave the chilaquiles a chance. That child seriously loves refried beans!
- 2 T lard (preferred) or vegetable oil
- 1 large orange sweet potato, cut into bite sized chunks
- 3 cups salsa verde (from below)
- 2 cups chicken stock, plus more as needed
- 2 poblano chile peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and sliced into thin strips
- 1 t sea salt, plus more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- shredded chicken from one small rotisserie chicken (1 1/2 - 2 cups if you want to just roast a few breasts or thighs)
- 6 large handfuls of freshly made tortilla chips--either make them homemade or do as we do and purchase them from a local Mexican restaurant (commercially made chips will turn to mush much more quickly, so either make some fresh or do as we do and buy some from local Mexican restaurant)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- chopped cilantro
- thinly sliced red onion or mild candy onion
- 2 T crumbled queso fresco (I substitute feta as queso fresco is not available locally)
- Mexican crema (Or substitute sour cream whisked with a little milk to make thinner)
Heat the lard in a large, heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the sweet potato and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
Add the salsa and cook for 3 minutes. Add the 2 cups of chicken stock along with the poblano peppers and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through.
Mix in the shredded chicken.
Stir in the tortilla chips and turn the heat up to medium-high. If you need more liquid for the amount of chips you have, add some more chicken stock (see comments above on whether dish should be crunchy or soft). Chips should still hold their shapes--cook for about 2 minutes. Mix in 1/4 cup cilantro. Then serve immediately with garnishes.
- 1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 small white onion, quartered
- 1 jalapeño, seeded if desired
- 1 t coarse sea salt
- juice of 1 lime
- 4 sprigs of cilantro with plenty of leaves
- sugar to taste
Heat a large, heavy (preferably cast iron) griddle or pan over medium heat. Place the tomatillos, garlic cloves, onion quarters and jalapeño on the hot surface and cook, turning once or twice, until charred in spots all over.
Place all of them into a food processor and add the salt, lime juice and cilantro. Puree smooth. Taste for more lime juice, salt or even some sugar--I find it easiest to test with a tortilla chip, as just tasting the salsa straight is often too strong.
Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Affiliate links were used in this post, but only to link to items I would be discussing and linking to in any case.