I do this a lot–take vegetarian recipes for inspiration and then make them not vegetarian (in “supporting cast” ways–like chicken stock and lard). Not usually Indian recipes, but recipes that are vegetarian interpretations of recipes from meat-eating cultures. I mean, I have lard, I personally think it is more respectful to that pig you just ate in the form of a tenderloin to use all of it if possible, including the fat, and it makes Mexican beans taste sooo much better–that’s why the Mexicans use it.
Anyhoo, Bishop uses canned beans–and you can too–but I think my way is better. If you do use canned, I would add beer or chicken stock or vegetable stock or anything but the 2 cups of water he calls for. That’s another thing I don’t get–using water when you could use something with more flavor.
These chilaquiles are different from those I have made before in that the baked tortilla chips are simmered in the sauce until chewy. Like all the others, I love these too. The flavor of the dish is greater than the sum of its parts; John and I pretty much divided the remaining “second serving” while watching each other like a hawk. They were that good. Unlike a lot of my food, this is not something that would make good leftovers, although I suppose you could divide the bean “sauce” before adding the chips and reheat it the next day, adding more chips then.
I realized after I took the pics I had made the dish look like a salad. It really is not–the lettuce is ringing the chilaquiles, which I guess you can’t see much of. ooops.
2 cups dried dark beans, I used Rio Zape
1 small-medium onion, finely chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 T freshly rendered, roasty lard (do not use that processed white stuff–just sub some oil in if you cannot get good lard)
salt to taste
12 corn tortillas, sliced into wedges (I do sixths), laid out to dry
1 T oil
sea salt to taste
The Final Dish:
2 small-medium onions, finely chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced, plus 1 T adobo sauce
2 T olive oil
2-3 t honey
salt to taste
cherry tomatoes or tomato wedges
cheese (queso fresco or shredded Monterey Jack or whatever sounds good)
Both the chips and the beans can be made in advance.
Soak the beans if you choose and if not time your dish accordingly (the older the bean the longer it will take to cook). Cover the beans by at 2 inches of water in a medium saucepan and add the onion, garlic and lard. Bring to a boil and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the beans are done. Check occasionally to make sure you do not need to add water (especially if you did not soak the beans, they will absorb a lot of liquid). When they taste done, add a pinch or 2 of salt, to taste, and let simmer another 10 minutes. Set aside, in their liquid (or cool and then store in the fridge).
Toss the tortilla wedges with the oil and salt to taste. Lay out on a jelly roll pan and bake at 375 until crisp (but they will retain some chew). This took me 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
Heat a pan* on medium heat and add the olive oil. *I used a stainless steel wok shaped pan, but anything will do as long as it has high enough sides to hold the sauce. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chipotle pepper and adobo sauce, and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add the beans, including their liquid, and the honey. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer briskly for 10 minutes. Taste for salt or additional honey if needed (the dish should not be sweet, the honey just serves to round it out).
Turn the heat off and mash the beans to form a less soupy but still stew-like paste. When you are ready to serve the dish, bring the beans back up to a boil and add the chips. Lower the heat to simmer the chips for 3 minutes, until they are no longer crunchy but are still chewy. Serve with garnishes.