Chilaquiles Verdes with Chicken and Sunny-Side Egg
I grew up in a northern country town with limited dining options and not much diversity besides diners and BBQ. There was one Mexican restaurant off our busiest road. It was always packed — usually with our teachers enjoying happy hour margaritas.
On the few occasions that my high-school self made it to this restaurant — not familiar with Mexican dishes, and even more nervous about dying from spicy food, I found one dish which I always ordered: chilaquiles. Semi-soft tortillas bathed in a green sauce (which was actually kind of spicy), with shredded chicken — it was amazing.
It’s been over 7 years since I stepped foot in that restaurant (or had the delicious chilaquiles).
This past week, I was going through my cookbooks and found one recipe by the Sussman brothers, who made chilaquiles with tomatillo salsa. I thought it was fate — I had to go to the market to make this recipe myself.
Ingredients for Chilaquiles Verdes with Chicken
Cooking with New Ingredients
I never cooked with tomatillos before. But I knew enough from watching Food Network that they looked like light green tomatoes and had papery husks on the outside.
The recipe called for three pounds of tomatillos. I had no idea how much that would be (and considering I couldn’t find a scale in the market), I guessed based on how many a cookie-sheet would hold. This came to a bag and a quarter of tomatillos.
Finding the other ingredients was easy as well. I bought the jalapeno right next to the tomatillos. I only purchased one, because I don’t like spicy food. In reality, this recipe could’ve used more, even for my taste.
Homemade vs Store-Bought
The tortilla chips were the hardest part. I remembered the original recipe I ate all those years ago used thick-cut tortilla chips. They were probably homemade, but I assumed I could find something in the store that would be the equivalent.
I ended up with a bag of the tortilla chips that you have with dip at parties. If I had really planned, I would’ve made (or bought) soft tortillas and then fried them myself.
Determining the best queso fresco was an interesting debate. I found a large container at the market that said, “Authentic Mexican” while another version said, “Portuguese Style.”
There was a difference in texture for all the queso fresco brands. Some looked dry and crumbly while others sat in a bit of liquid and looked creamier. In the end, I went with the “Authentic Mexican.”
The recipe called for shredded chicken. I did have frozen chicken at home that I could’ve baked or grilled and then shredded apart. But it was a Thursday night after work and the salsa verde was going to take me a bit of time, so I opted out of cooking the chicken myself.
Here’s the easy cooking hack — buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from Costco. It’s about $8-$10 depending on the size and makes this recipe even easier. All you have to do is shred a cup of the chicken and heat it up.
Instructions for How to Make Chilaquiles Verdes with Chicken and Sunny-Side Egg
The Salsa Verde
The longest part of this recipe (for me) was blending the ingredients for the salsa verde. My food processor is on the smaller side, and I had some hefty tomatillos, so I had to cut them in half to make sure they fit/pureed easier.
Besides that, this recipe is a one-pan cooking. I left my tomatillos and ingredients in the oven a bit longer than the recipe calls for. I waited until their skins were textured and blistered before removing. Your oven may be different, so keep this in mind.
Assembling the Tortillas
When I had chilaquiles verdes for the first time, I remember it was like the tortillas were swimming in the sauce. In this recipe, it didn’t tell me to dunk or drench the tortillas in any way. It was only afterword that I researched other recipes which called for coating the tortillas in a pan of the salsa verde before serving.
I’m not sure which version is “correct.” I imagine since I used crunchy, thinner chips that putting them in a pan of the sauce might’ve made them a soggy / weird texture.
When I make this again, I will make thick, homemade tortillas — in which case I will add the tortillas directly to the sauce to soak in the flavor.
The Final Product
The Salsa Verde
I removed all of the seeds from the jalapeno as I pureed the sauce. I was worried about the level of spice.
In the end, I think it could’ve used a bit of a kick. I probably could’ve added another half of a jalapeno. Or maybe left the seeds.
I was pleased with the flavor of the salsa verde. I hadn’t made this before and was impressed with the fresh, light flavor. The onions were not overpowering, and I loved the fresh cilantro. Part of me wanted to add more garlic, but I wanted to be true to the recipe and see how it tasted without my changes. It was great!
Using the tortilla chips rather than the thick-cut tortillas was different from what I was expecting, but not terrible. The crunch and saltiness from the chip were a nice balance to the soft textures from the sauce, cheese, chicken, and egg.
The Sunny-Side-Up Egg
Adding the egg makes this recipe a brunch item. When I had chilaquiles for the first time, it did not have an egg over top (though I am wondering if maybe it was broken and stirred throughout before serving?).
I was hesitant about adding it, because I considered this to be a dinner dish and did not know if I would like the addition of the egg.
Spoiler: The sunny-side-up egg was perfect, even for dinner. The yolk helped pull together all the ingredients, and I liked the flavor of the egg whites with the tortilla chip and salsa verde.
I made this dish for my lunch the next day (without the egg), and it did seem like it was missing something, so I recommend you add the egg for both brunch and dinner. If you’re not a fan of sunny-side-up eggs, you can make an over-easy egg instead.
The Queso Fresco
The Mexican style queso fresco was the crumbly texture that I knew it to be. I found the taste to be very mellow — and I wondered if that was a result of the brand that I selected? If you have any favorite queso fresco brands leave a comment below!
The Shredded Chicken
I didn’t use exact measurements for the chicken. I make each person a plate, so as you serve this dish, you can determine the amount of chicken needed based on how your friends/family eat.
For my plate, I used one thick slice of chicken breast, and placed chunks on top of the tortilla chips. The rotisserie chicken I bought was enough for 4-servings with leftovers.
Portions and Serving
In the end, I had a ton of the salsa verde. I had enough for 4-servings dolloped with sauce. I think if I made the tortilla chips swimming in salsa (as I originally remembered), I wouldn’t have that much leftover.
I put the rest of the salsa verde in quart-sized Ziploc bags and froze it. I have no idea how it will be when it defrosts, but rather than waste it, I think I will try to use it again in another Mexican dish.
Overall, I am happy with how this recipe turned out. I’m glad to have cooked a new cuisine with unfamiliar ingredients.
The next time I make chilaquiles verdes, I will make more of the dish from scratch in the hopes that it has the authentic taste that I remember the first time that I had it!
K. Martinelli Makes Chilaquiles Verdes with Chicken and Sunny-Side Egg
Thanks for Watching!
Have you had chilaquiles verdes before? Do you have a favorite recipe or ingredient? Tell me about it in the comments, I’d love to learn more!