One of my favorite ways to make weeknight meals even easier is to reuse leftovers from the night before in a totally new way. And often, it can be much easier than you think.
Where I live in San Francisco, I’m surrounded by restaurants that serve burritos, so I’m constantly eating them. They often come with a basket of tortilla chips for free, like most other Mexican restaurants across the country.
I’m never able to even touch the chips because I’m too full, once I eat the burrito. My solution is to save the chips and make chilaquiles.
Chilaquiles is a Mexican dish of day-old tortillas, cooked with salsa, and then served up as breakfast. I like to serve it for dinner.
The meat you choose is totally up to you, as is the salsa. Have some leftover grilled or roasted chicken, pulled pork, or crumbled ground beef? Throw it in. You can even use a store-bought salsa if you’re in a real rush or don’t have any left over. That’s the beauty of this dish; it’s open to wide interpretation and uses very few ingredients, but is more satisfying that you’d ever think.
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1 large white onion, peeled and quartered lengthwise
1 large jalapeño, halved, stem and seeds removed
4 cloves garlic
1 can (28 ounces) whole, peeled tomatoes with its juice
1 small bunch cilantro, stems trimmed, a few leaves reserved for garnish
1/4 cup lime juice
Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste
2 cups leftover cooked meat such as sliced steak, browned ground beef, pulled pork or shredded chicken
4 big handfuls of leftover tortilla chips (think of each handful as a serving for one person)
Sour cream, to garnish
Sliced scallions, to garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
- First, make your salsa by placing the onion, jalapeño and garlic in a medium saucepan over high heat and letting the vegetables sit until they begin to char and blacken. Turn them with tongs or a fork until they’re mostly charred and blistered on all sides. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the vegetables to a blender along with the tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper, and blend on high until very smooth, at least 1 minute.
- Place the pan back over medium-high heat, and pour in the salsa. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook for about 5 minutes until the salsa is slightly reduced. Add the meat, and cook until heated through, then add the chips and remove the pan from the heat. Stir the chips into the salsa and meat, letting the residual heat soften them slightly and let them sit for about 5 minutes. Divide among 4 serving bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream, a pinch of sliced scallions, a squeeze of lime juice using the lime wedges, and a couple leaves of cilantro.
Note: Serve this with some cooked rice and steamed broccoli or steamed vegetables if you want to round out what is admittedly not the most square meal.
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