for the pickled red onions:
½ cup|118 ml white vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2-3 small chilies
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 lime, juiced
for the chilaquiles:
1 pound|454 grams tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1 jalapeño, stemmed, roughly chopped (seeds and all–or seed it, or use less than a whole chile if you're not into super-spicy food, or leave it out if you don't like spice at all)
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
canola oil, for drizzling and frying
¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for serving
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons sour cream
12 corn tortillas, cut into thick strips or wedges
¼ cup drained pickled red onions
¼ cup finely crumbled cotija cheese (or crumbled feta cheese)
- Make the pickled onions: In a medium bowl, toss the vinegar, salt, chillies, onion, lime juice, and ½ cup water. Let sit for 1 hour.
- Make the chilaquiles: Heat oven to 425°F|220°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tomatoes, jalapeño, and onion on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with 1 tablespoon canola oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until the vegetables are softened and browned in spots, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the roasted vegetables to a blender or a food processor and add the cilantro and 3 tablespoons of the lime juice. Purée until smooth. Season the salsa to taste with salt and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.
- In a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm ½-inch canola oil. Once the oil is nice and hot (it should bubble vigorously if you dip the edge of a tortilla into it), add a large handful of tortilla strips, just enough to form a single layer, and cook, turning each one once, until crispy and golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the chips to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and continue cooking the remaining tortilla chips, adding more oil to the pot as necessary. Season to taste with salt. The chips will crisp as they cool.
- Once you've crisped all your tortillas, pour off and discard whatever oil remains in the pot (for easy and safe disposal, pour it into a bowl, let it cool, and then pour it into a bottle or jar, seal, and throw it away). Add the reserved salsa to the pot and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the tortilla chips, and cook, stirring now and then, until the chips have softened and absorbed some of the salsa, about 5 minutes. At first it will look like a lot of chips and not much salsa, but the tortillas will quickly absorb the sauce and become almost a bit wilted. You want the final chilaquiles to be soft but not soggy.
- Divide the chilaquiles evenly among four plates and drizzle each portion with one-fourth of the sour cream mixture. Scatter the pickled onions, cotija, and cilantro over the chilaquiles.
Author note: This recipe is courtesy of Julia Turshen's book, Small Victories.
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