We first discovered excellent chilaquiles when we were in Playa del Carmen last year. When we returned home, I immediately started whipping up delicious batches of chilaquiles using salsa verde and corn tortillas. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago, in an effort to “stretch” our groceries (saving for that honeymoon!) that I used up the rest of a bag of flour tortillas and a bottle of red salsa we’d used in my famous Crockpot chicken tacos that we rediscovered the absolute glory and versatility of chilaquiles.
Chilaquiles is essentially a tortilla and salsa casserole, making use of ideally stale tortillas and whatever-else-is-on-hand. We saved a bit of the Crockpot chicken taco meat and threw it in the chilaquiles batch, along with about 2/3 of a can of garbanzo beans, because, well, that’s what we had on hand. We’ve used pinto beans, veggies, you name it. It’s a pretty sturdy everything-but-the-kitchen-sink recipe, an excellent way to use up what you might waste in a most delicious recipe.
Topped with a fried egg, the richness of the egg yolk is positively delicious and adds an elegance to this Mexican comfort food. The chipotle pepper infuses the chilaquiles with a delicate smokiness and a nice spicy touch. The acidity of the tomatoes marries beautifully with the creaminess of the tortillas, all balanced by the richness of the creamy egg yolk.
Using flour tortillas lends the dish a certain richness that you miss when you use the more textured corn tortillas. Both are excellent, but the smooth sweetness of the flour tortillas was certainly a treat for us this go-round. We top our chilaquiles with cheese (duh), chiopotle aïoli (duh), and cilantro and onions. It’s authentic enough that you’d look pretty fancy serving it to your friends, but it’s so, so easy and forgiving. Did I mention cheap? It’s cheap. It’s super cheap.
- 1 cup roughly chopped white onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained
- 1/2 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) all-purpose flour, or half-and-half mix of white flour and "whole" flour (whole wheat, brown rice, chickpea flour, etc)
- Canola oil or olive oil, for sauteing
- Pita bread, for serving, optional
- Hummus, for serving, optional
- Baba ganoush, for serving, optional
- Add the onion and garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until they are finely minced. Remove the mixture and set it aside.
- Add the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, salt, chili powder, and cumin to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until they are roughly blended but not pureed.
- Return the onion mixture to the food processor, along with the baking powder and just enough flour so that when you pulse the processor, the mixture begins to form a small ball and is not sticky. (Note: Start by adding 2 tablespoons of flour, and then the remaining 2 tablespoons. You can add more if the mixture is still too wet.)
- Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
- Once the falafel mixture has chilled, use a small ice cream scoop or spoons to form the mixture into balls (roughly 3 Tablespoons per ball). (Note: You can also add additional flour at this point, if the mixture is too wet to scoop.)
- Set a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add a liberal amount of canola oil so that the pan is well-coated. Let the pan pre-heat for 3 minutes then add the falafel one by one, browning them on the first side for 3 minutes, then flipping them once and browning the second side until the mixture is cooked throughout.
- Transfer the falafel to a paper towel-lined cooling wrack and immediately season them with salt. Repeat this process until you have cooked all of the falafel.
- Place three or four falafel inside a halved, warmed pita and slather with hummus or baba ganoush, or just eat unwrapped with hummus/baba ganoush!