Friday, September 14, 2007

Using it all up

I must admit that when I was working, I was a bit wasteful when it comes to food. Since being laid off, I have tried to be more economical. That means that when I make a large amount of something, I freeze some for later consumption. But what to do about the stuff that starts to go bad before you have a chance to use it all? I was hit with this question earlier this week when I noticed that the large bag of tortilla chips was starting to get a little stale. Fortunately this was something for which I knew I had an answer.

Chilaquiles con pollo
adapted from the recipe in Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library: Mexican Cooking.

This is traditionally a breakfast/brunch dish. You are supposed to use leftover (stale) tortillas which you then fry up. I have usually done it in this way but I figured that using stale chips would work just as well. And would save me the time of frying up the tortillas.

Finally, the recipe calls for "thick sour cream." In the glossary of the book, they compare it to creme fraiche and say that you can make your own by adding sour cream to heavy cream and then letting it sit unrefrigerated. I just bought some crema since we have easy access to that ingredient here in California. Oh, and if you happen to find this dish on a menu in a restaurant, more than likely it will not contain meat.

1 whole chicken breast of 2 breast halves
2 dried ancho chili peppers
corn oil of other vegetable oil for frying
12 corn tortillas, each cut into 6 wedges
2 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup beer
3 eggs
1 cup thick sour cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 2/3 cups grated Cheddar cheese

Place the chicken in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well and let cool completely. Bone and skin the chicken, then, using your fingers or 2 forks, shred the meat. Set aside.

Meanwhile, slit the chilies lengthwise along one side and remove the ribs and stems. In a deep, heavy frying pan over low heat, toast the chilies until they deepen in color and smell quite pungent, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add lukewarm water to cover; let stand for 5 minutes, then drain. Set aside.

Preheat an oven to 400 F.

In a large frying pan over high heat, pour in oil to a depth of 1-1/2 inches. When the oil is hot, working in batches, add the tortilla wedges and fry until slightly golden but not too crisp, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Spread the fried tortilla wedges in a 9-by-12-by-3-inch baking dish. Top evenly with the shredded chicken.

Drain the chilies well and place in a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender. Add the tomatoes, beer, eggs, cream, and salt and pepper to taste. Process until smooth.

Pour the chili mixture evenly over the tortillas and chicken. Top with the cheese. Bake until the cheese melts and is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

I haven't made this recipe in years but you can bet it's back on my list of things to do with leftover chicken.

Oh, and a word of warning. There will probably be quite a bit of food next week. If you haven't guessed, I'm feeling more like myself once more.

No comments:

Post a Comment