Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican peasant dish of fried tortillas bathed in green or red salsa (depending on the region) until tender. Slightly tart green tomatillo sauce is preferred in Mexico City, Jimmy Shaw's home town, and is very simple to make.
The comfort food is most commonly eaten at breakfast time as a "bring me back to life" hangover cure-all or in celebration after a wedding. Unlike nachos, chilaquiles are a meal to be eaten with a fork; they're not chips with stuff on top.
As the saying goes, there are as many recipes for chilaquiles as there are cooks. Nothing is wasted in the Mexican home, so this dish was born as a clever way to revive yesterday's tortillas and leftover salsa.
At Lotería, breakfast is served all day and you can ask for chilaquiles to be topped with a fried egg or shredded chicken or beef.
Put the tomatillos, chile, onion and garlic in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the tomatillos turn pale green. Cool slightly.
Transfer the boiled vegetables, along with the cooking water, to a blender. Puree for a few seconds to blend; be sure to hold down the lid with a towel for safety. Add the herbs, salt and broth. Continue to puree until smooth. You should have about 1 quart of salsa verde.
Put a pot over medium-high heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is hot, pour in the tomatillo sauce, it will bubble a bit. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Keep warm while assembling the chilaquiles.
Pour about 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or countertop deep fryer and heat to 375 degrees F. Stack the tortillas and fan them with your thumb to separate. Cut the tortillas into eight wedges like a pie.
Working in batches, fry the tortilla chips, turning them with a skimmer or slotted spoon so they don't stick together, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the chips to a paper towel-lined baking pan or brown paper bag to drain. (Return the oil to the proper temperature between batches.) Cool.
Pour the salsa verde into a wide pot or pan and place over medium heat. Just when it starts to bubble, stir in the beaten eggs. Cook and stir for about 5 seconds until the egg feathers into the sauce to thicken and bind.
Immediately add the chips, tossing gently until they have absorbed enough sauce and become soft. Take care not to break the chips. Sprinkle the Jack cheese on top and let it melt.
If frying your own tortilla chips seems too involved (it’s really easy though), as a shortcut this dish can be made with store-bought tortilla chips, but choose unsalted.