Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chilaquiles with Southwestern Pulled Brisket

What do you do when you have like 3/4 of a pound of Southwestern Pulled Brisket left in the fridge and 3 ripe avocados?  You could make more of the same tacos, but that's kind of boring.  I guess you could make sandwiches, but that's pretty boring too.  We had roughly 20 corn tortillas leftover from the tacos (Alex bought the family-sized package) so it made sense to make more tacos or something that uses tortillas rather than going out to buy bread.  I wanted to make migas or breakfast tostadas, but Alex decided (and since he was cooking I couldn't protest too much) that he wanted chilaquiles.  By the time I got home from work he had already put together the red chili sauce and fried up the tortillas.  I have to say, it's pretty nice to come home to a homemade meal that is already well underway!

The red chili sauce was not my favorite - I thought it was a little bitter/harsh.  It had a nice spice level, but I was a little alarmed by my first taste of just the chili sauce-coated tortillas.  But the bitterness worked fairly well with the leftover brisket (which was sweet and meaty) and the leftover pickled shallots (which were slightly spicy/sweet and nicely acidic).  If you don't have brisket you could try serving with a fried egg (or poached eggs) and the fatty richness of the oozing egg yolk might also work with these chilaquiles.  In that case I might add some honey to the red chili sauce to add a little sweetness to counteract the bitterness.  I wasn't originally planning on squeezing fresh lime juice on the top of the chilaquiles because I didn't want to make them any soggier than they already were, but I needed the additional freshness, acidity and bright flavor of the lime to really make it work.  When I tried another bite of everything after squeezing the lime over the top it all came together nicely.

Recipe after the jump!

Chilaquiles with Southwestern Pulled Brisket
Adapted from Simply Recipes

For red chili sauce:
4 dried ancho chilis, seeds, stems and veins removed
2-3 cups boiling water
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
For chilaquiles:
1 dozen corn tortillas, preferably stale, or left out overnight to dry out a bit, quartered or cut into 6 wedges
canola oil
1 1/2 to 2 cups red chile sauce
Southwestern Pulled Brisket
pickled shallots (you could use minced red onion instead)
cotija cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 avocado, roughly chopped
lime wedges

Toast chiles lightly in a skillet on medium heat until fragrant and starting to char in spots.  Put chilies in a saucepan, pour boiling hot water over to cover.  Let sit for 15 minutes.  Add chiles, garlic, salt and about 1 1/2 cups of chili soaking liquid to a blender. Hold down lid of blender tightly and blend until smooth.  If your sauce is still pretty chunky, strain through a mesh sieve into a frying pan to make the chilaquiles (our sauce was smooth and we were lazy so we didn't bother straining).

Add enough canola oil to coat a large saut√© pan with about 1/8 inch of oil.  Heat pan on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tortillas in batches and, fry until golden brown.  Remove tortillas to a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess oil.  Sprinkle a little salt on the tortillas.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  Wipe pan clean of any browned bits of tortillas and excess oil.

Add 2 tbsp canola oil to saute pan and return to medium heat.  Add the red chili sauce and simmer for several minutes.  Add the fried tortillas to the saute pan.  Gently turn over the pieces of tortilla until they are all well coated with red chili sauce and warmed through.  Remove from heat.

Serve chilaquiles with Southwestern Pulled Brisket, pickled shallots, cotija cheese, cilantro leaves, avocado and lime wedges.

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