Chilaquiles and Chile Relleno: A Short Cut to Remember

When my daughter was about 4 months old, I took a trip to Mexico with my sister. We went to San Miguel de Allende to visit a dear friend who had chosen to retire there. If you haven’t been to San Miguel, it’s a little American enclave in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico. We enjoyed pork rinds and carnitas, and I took a few cooking classes that taught me the basics of Mexican food. It’s all about the chiles. It is normally with some trepidation that I make chilaquiles. But last weekend I confidently went into the kitchen to make this breakfast for my husband because I had some leftover chile salsa. In fact, I made chilaquiles and chile relleno—my two favorite dishes. All I needed was chorizo! No chorizo, so I went with the kale from a friend’s garden as the side. Sorry no picture, I ate it too fast.

My favorite place to get salsa in Berkeley when I’m too lazy to puree my own is Cancun, a small little taco shop that makes handmade salsa (my favorites are their cascabel and what they call exotica). The chile relleno base is just whipped up egg whites with the yokes folded in. A roasted, de-seeded and peeled poblano chile is stuffed with cheese (like munster, casero or other) and then fried in the batter. Chilaquiles are simply handmade tortilla chips tossed in a chile-based salsa (it doesn’t work well with pico de gallo, for example). You simply toss the chips in a frying pan with the salsa until they are covered and serve immediately.