Chilaquiles al Guajillo
(Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as an accompaniment)
For 2 1/2 cups Essential Simmered Guajillo Sauce:
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- 8 ounces tortilla chips (store-bought or homemade), preferably ones that are not too thin
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream thinned with a little milk, for garnish
- 1/4 cup finely crumbled Mexican queso añejo, dry feta or Parmesan
- 1 small white onion, thinly sliced, for garnish
- About 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish
DIRECTIONS FOR THE GUAJILLO SAUCE:
Roast the unpeeled garlic directly on an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat until soft (they’ll blacken in spots), about 15 minutes; cool and peel. While the garlic is roasting, toast the chiles on another side of the griddle or skillet: 1 or 2 at a time, open them out flat and press down firmly on the hot surface with a spatula; when they crackle, even send up a wisp of smoke, flip them and press down to toast the other side. In a small bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to insure even soaking. Drain and discard the water.
Combine the oregano, black pepper and cumin in a food processor or blender, along with the drained chiles, garlic and 2/3 cup of the broth. Blend to a smooth puree, scraping and stirring every few seconds. (If the mixture just won’t go through the blender blades, add a little more liquid.) Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a small bowl.
Heat the oil in a heavy, medium-size (4-quart) pot (such as a Dutch oven or Mexican cazuela) over medium-high. When hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle sharply, add the puree all at once and stir constantly until it reduces into a thick paste, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the broth, partially cover and simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. If necessary, add more broth to bring the sauce to a medium consistency. Taste and season with salt and sugar.
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DIRECTIONS FOR THE CHILAQUILES:
Add the remaining 1 2/3 cups of broth to the guajillo sauce, heat to a boil, then add the tortilla chips. Stir to coat the chips well, then rapidly boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the chips have softened (but still retain a little chewiness), and the sauce has reduced to a medium consistency, about 2 to 3 minutes for thinner chips, 4 to 5 minutes for thicker chips.
Spoon the chilaquiles into a warm, deep serving platter (there should be enough sauce to pool around them), drizzle with the cream, sprinkle with the cheese, and strew with the onion and cilantro leaves.
Serve right away, since chilaquiles loose their texture quickly.