Chee-lah-kee-lehs 🙂 I had my fist plate of chilaquiles at a small, rural church in Mexico. I was interpreting for the mission team that had come to work with the church, and the preacher’s wife loved to cook. She made breakfast and lunch for us every day, and we usually fended for ourselves for dinner in the city.

I was sitting there at breakfast in the pavilion, looking at the vibrant pink flowers that love the nitrogen rich soil of Baja California; drinking coffee and coffee and enjoying this dish I’d never heard of but immediately fell in love with.

My version is probably nothing like Sra. Franco’s, but I like my version and it always takes me back to those days translating and living in Mexico during my summers in seminary. What I know about my birth heritage is that there’s some Mexican culture mixed into my bloodline. I’ve always liked that about myself, and as I’ve gotten older, have enjoyed exploring what it means to live into that part of who I am. Cooking is one way.

Here’s my recipe for quick chilaquiles:

6 corn tortillas, stacked and sliced with a sharp knife, plus 3 additional tortillas sliced separately, Olive oil for sautéeing, 1 large jar of salsa, cotija cheese or crumbled queso fresco, crema Mexicana or sour cream, 4 eggs (optional) chicken (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet. Add the 6 sliced tortillas and sauté until they start to brown and blister. Add the chicken if using, and remaining tortilla slices, stir together until mixed and add jar of salsa. I add about 1/4 cup of water after emptying the jar to get all the salsa goodness stuck to the jar and pour that in as well. Place skilled on center of top rack and bake for about 10 minutes. If using eggs, take a large wooden spoon and make 4 craters, evenly spaced, in the chilaquiles. Crack an egg into each crater, and return to oven to bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the egg whites are set and no longer clear.

Top each serving with cotija or crumbled queso fresco, and a drizzle of crema. Serve with avocado slices and lime wedges. We like to have ours for brunch with black beans and spicy picked cactus. Happy eating!

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