Alan and I were getting ready to leave for Oaxaca for his 65th birthday and Dia de los muertos aka Dia de muertos. Alex stayed home with the dogs and I was so grateful and appreciative and I knew he’d want food or he’d go out all the time and that’s expensive and he has no income and I like to cook for him. Ok…. I love to cook for him. He’s a great audience AND he reads my blog for which I am also grateful. And because Oaxaca is such a foodie paradise I paid homage and decided to mak him something representative….
Off I trotted to the grocery store and back I came with loads of chicken. Now what… The first obvious choice was an old family favorite of Crock-Pot Chicken – barely worth a mention other than that you can set it up and turn the machine on in the morning and it’s ready at dinner time – all warm and juicy and good. Comforting. So I prepared that to start Saturday morning as we headed out the door for the airport. Still had plenty of chicken left and needed something Mexican-ish in origin or flavor. And that’s where Green Chicken Chilaquiles Casserole from Mesa Mexicana by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger came in. I made a big casserole for Alex to cook when he ran out of the Crock-Pot Chicken and we had a small casserole of it the night before we left. It was a HUGE hit and is very very easily adapted for vegetarians by replacing the Chicken meat with strips of green chiles (which I added to the recipe). The recipe is below but first a few photos from Oaxaca!
We arrived in Oaxaca and the next day we were whisked off to the Mercado by Theresa to forage for items for our Altar.
We went back to Casa Robertita and made out Altar…. See, below…..
Back at home, Alex was in heaven with the Green Chicken Chilaquiles Casserole.
Green Chicken Chilaquiles Casserole
(from Mesa Mexicana by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feninger)
2 whole chicken breasts splits – omit if you’re going vegetarian and replace with 1 cup sliced, roasted Anaheim chiles.
salt and pepper
2 cups chicken stock – use vegetable stock if you’re going vegetarian
3 ½ cups Tomatillo Salsa (fresh or canned)
½ cup cream or half-half
1 onion, sliced paper thin
I added in sliced roasted Anaheim chiles for some zing
½ cup vegetable oil
12 day-old corn tortillas
1 cup grated manchego cheese
1 cup grated panela cheese
½ cup grated anejo cheese
Preheat oven to 350°
Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan.
Place the chicken in the stock, reduce the heat to moderate, cover and cook until the meat is tender about 15-minutes.
Set the chicken aside to cool in the stock.
When cool, remove the skin and bones and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Strain and reserve the stock for another use.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the salsa, cream/half-half, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, the onion and shredded chicken pieces.
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.
Cook the tortillas about 5 seconds per side to soften, and then transfer to a large colander to drain.
Butter a 4-quart casserole or 6 to 8 individual casseroles.
Combine the cheeses in a mixing bowl.
To assemble the chilaquiles, spread a thin lawyer of the cheese mixture over the bottom of the baking dish. Push the solids in the bowl of chicken and tomatillo sauce to the side so the liquid forms a pool in the bottom. Dip all the softened tortillas in the pool of salsa to moisten them.
Layer one-third of the moist tortillas over the cheese and top with half of the chicken/sauce mixture.
Sprinkle half of the remaining cheese over the chicken.
Repeat the layers ending with a layer of tortillas on top.
Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 30-minutes or until the edges are slightly brown.
Let the casserole cook for 10-minutes before slicing and serving.