Make Ahead

Chilaquiles Verdes

May 12, 2021
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

My undying love for chilaquiles verdes began when I was a culinary student in Manhattan. On my first weekend in town my good friend Christie treated me to a dish at La Esquina, and I fell hard. When I moved to St. Louis I couldn't find them, so on a recent trip to Mexico City, I binged, and then resolved to take a stab at my own when I got home. I think my little newyorkina Christie would be proud! —lisina

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a delicious, easy, comfort-foody recipe. I love how the tortillas thicken it and how the flavors meld together, though you can still detect each ingredient. Putting the veggies under the broiler gives it a wonderful smoky taste, though I do recommend removing the jalapeño seeds (and then adding them back in if you like) so you can better control the spice level! I loved this and will definitely make it again – and it's great for lunch the next day. —LucyS

What You'll Need
  • 3 pounds tomatillos in the husk
  • 1 large red onion cut in 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 8 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 handful of cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime
  • 1 heaping spoonful of crema or sour cream
  • 1 quart chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup (or more if you like) queso fresco in large crumbles (1/2- to 1-inch pieces), or shredded monterrey jack
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Salt and olive oil, as needed
  1. Lay tomatillos, onions, jalapeños, and garlic on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Place the baking sheet under the broiler, until the veggies are wilted and blistered, about 10 minutes (time will vary based on the heat of your broiler). Remove the veggies and let them cool until you are able to handle them.
  3. Remove the husks from the tomatillos, squeeze the garlic from the cloves, and remove the stem from the jalapeños. Throw the roasted veggies into a blender, along with any juices that accumulated on the baking tray. Add the cilantro leaves, the juice of the lime, and the crema. Purée until the mixture is very smooth. Taste and make any needed adjustments (more salt, acid, etc).
  4. While the veggies are still in the oven, bring the chicken broth to a gentle simmer in a dutch oven. Add the chicken breasts and allow them to simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Move the chicken to a cutting board and use two forks to shred it. Return the chicken and any juices to the pot.
  5. Add the tomatillo purée to the chicken broth, taste for seasoning (note the sauce should be tangy, almost sour, so add another squeeze of lime if necessary), and bring to a simmer. Cover and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes.
  6. Cut the tortillas into quarters. If your tortillas are fresh, dry them out in the oven or toaster oven. If they're stale and dried out, add them right to the pot. Stir the mixture and let simmer for another 10 minutes. The tortillas will cause the sauce to thicken.
  7. Uncover and stir in the queso fresco or sprinkle with the monterrey jack. Cover the pot again, allowing the cheese to melt. Uncover, sprinkle with cotija and cilantro, and serve.
  8. Note: The chilaquiles are just as good -- maybe better -- the next day. A fried egg on top wouldn't hurt either!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rey Compañeros
    Rey Compañeros
  • Lori Jewell
    Lori Jewell
  • bottomsupranch
  • Greatfallsdeb
  • Intelatin

30 Reviews

B April 25, 2022
I'm one of those horrible people who changes recipes and then still rates the original. But, I love recipes that you can use what you have & it will still turn out great. I used a jar of salsa verde, instead of the first step here, adding fresh cilantro and full-fat Greek yogurt (instead of the crema/sour cream). I also substituted cheddar for m.j. cheese and feta for the cotija. Despite all of these changes, it was delicious! I would totally make again, either as directed or with some/all these changes.
Jessamin May 12, 2021
This is exceptional food. I followed the recipe but used the chip-frying technique in Kendra Vaculin's Red Chilaquiles recipe (also on Food52, also exceptional food). It's all a bit effortful which is good, because if it were easier I'd be making this every week and my pandemic weight gain would be off the charts. Thank you for this fantastic recipe!
Linda D. January 11, 2021
Yum! Thank you!
Rey C. July 14, 2016
This is such a winner. My partner and I have made this many times, it's always a hit. Tonight though, whilst remeniscising about Colorado Green Chile, I opted for pork instead of chicken. Still delicious and brings me as close to Colorado as I can get from New England.
Rey C. July 14, 2016
Also, I'll note that I threw some poblanos into the roasting mix. Dang. So tasty.
Lori J. October 8, 2015
Made this for tonight's dinner with the last of our gardens tomatillos and it was amazing. So many tomatillos, so I made a second batch of the tomatillo purée for freezing. Love this recipe! Hope you continue to share your awesomeness.
bottomsupranch September 15, 2014
This was FANTASTIC! The only change I made was to wash the tomatillos and take the husks off, they had a bit of dirt on them. Had a small bowl of it this morning with a fried egg on top. This goes down as one of my favorites.
Greatfallsdeb September 14, 2014
Oh yeah. These were great! I did the recipe as stated except cut in half. I could have eaten the whole pan. Thought
I might garnish with some avocado slices, but it was not meant to be as my one and only avocado was brown mush.
grammypeg September 10, 2014
Confused re comment below versus recipe directions. Below says "chilaquilles shouldn't be kept past 5 minutes" - recipes says "The chilaquiles are just as good -- maybe better -- the next day." Would lisina please comment?
lisina September 11, 2014
grammypeg, please see my response to intelatin below. as with any recipe, i think it's up to you to enjoy them as you like. the tortillas will maintain their integrity better if you eat them right way, and dish will definitely have a more uniform consistency the second day. if you like a more dry or "seco" preparation, let the chicken stock reduce for a while. if you would like the tortillas to be more toothsome, don't let them simmer in the sauce for 10 minutes--watch them and take them off the stove when they arrive at the texture you like. i hope this helps!
Intelatin September 10, 2014
Hina asks if this is a soup or a stew and lisina says, yes. Chilaquiles is a dry breakfast dish made with tortilla strips. In Mexico, the degree to which they swim in salsa is dependent on the person preparing the dish but the tortillas should never be soggy. A frequent eater can ask for their chilaquiles secos (dry) which doesnt mean that they dont have salsa. The salsa should soften the tortilla slightly but never to the point where it loses its crunch. Also, as with all things de tortilla, chilaquiles shouldnt keep past 5 minutes so you shouldnt be able to eat them next day. If you can, you might be venturing into "Budin" territory which would be more similar to a lasagna than chilaquiles. In California, some Texmex restaurants, claiming to be authentic, will serve rice with chilaquiles. This is ghastly.
lisina September 11, 2014
intelatin, this particular recipe has the consistency of a thick stew, and the tortillas should have a bit of tooth to them. as i mentioned in the recipe description, this was my best approximation based on the chilaquiles i had while visiting mexico city, and i think they are pretty close to what i was served there both at market stalls and restaurants. they were not crunchy at all and did have a stew-like consistency. as you pointed out, the tortillas should not dissolve into the sauce. having said that, in NO way do i claim to be an expert on mexican cuisine. if you have a more authentic recipe, i would absolutely love to have it. personally, i like to make a big batch and think they're great the next day too. but i also like to eat leftover pasta, which my italian-born mother finds tantamount to sacrilege. so...
Intelatin September 26, 2014
Chilaquiles, as you might understand, similar to Gnocchi in Italian cuisine, is a dramatic dish because it has such a potential to be life changing. Everybody makes it in a different way and unfortunately for me on Food 52, the Mexican folks that I deal with do not use recipes. In my version, the sauce is tantamount but simple: Tomatoes, Chile Serrano, Onions. Toasted on the comal and then salted and liquified in a blender. The chips that I use are very crunchy and come from a local tortilleria in my neighborhood. I place the chips in a hot pan and then pour very minor amounts of the salsa on top of the chips. No more than 3 minutes in the hot pan. Then, I garnish with shaved onion, queso fresco and sliced avocado. The reference to Gnocchi is important because I might argue, along with your mother that 99.9% of Gnocchi you eat in the US should be considered a cultural atrocity if you ever have Gnocchi that is expertly prepared in Italy. Likewise, while all foodies have their tastes and preferences, Chilaquiles have a special place in Mexican cuisine and thus are treated with a certain level of passion when passed on.
Hina K. October 17, 2013
Is this to be eaten as a stew/soup of sorts?
lisina October 18, 2013
sdschorr September 30, 2013
Can you use canned tomatillos? What would the equivalency be?
lisina September 30, 2013
i've never used canned tomatillos, so i'm not sure how they will measure up flavor-wise. you won't be able to roast them. but if you can't find fresh, i suppose it's worth a try! in terms of volume, a 32 oz can should do the trick.
katiestemp September 29, 2013
These turned out perfectly! I cut the recipe down as I only had a pound of tomatillos. Made enough for four for brunch with added egg on top. Roasting tomatillos in husks were messy. Not sure if removing huskes before roasting would taste change much?
lisina September 30, 2013
i don't think it would change it much to remove the husks first. i find they slip out easier once they're roasted, but either way should work fine!
lisina March 23, 2014
katiestemp, i tried it yesterday removing the husks first, and it worked great. i still prefer roasting them in the husks (the stickiness of the raw husks drives me crazy), but the results are the same either way.
lisina September 27, 2013
thanks everyone, i hope you enjoy them!
foxeslovelemons September 26, 2013
Wow, this looks fantastic! Sounds like your best culinary lesson came outside of culinary school ;) Congrats on the CP!
lisina September 27, 2013
one of them, definitely! ;)
lisina September 27, 2013
and congratulations to you on being a finalist! i can't wait to try your meatballs. i'm a detroit girl myself--i hope you bring home the win!
foxeslovelemons September 27, 2013
Oh yay, thank you! Where in the area are you from? Detroit, or a suburb?
lisina September 27, 2013
we lived in the city till i started school, then moved to bloomfield hills where my parents still live. any new restaurants i should check out when i'm home next?
foxeslovelemons September 27, 2013
Oh, cool! I'm in Ferndale. My two newer favs are The Root (it's way out in White Lake, but worth the drive), and Imperial here in Ferndale (food-truck style tacos and lots of Mexican delights. I think chilaquiles for weekend brunch, too!)
lisina September 27, 2013
YUM, i will definitely check out the imperial when i'm in town next! thanks for the reccommendations!
em-i-lis September 26, 2013
This looks marvelous!!!
Loves F. September 26, 2013
Yum! I love chilaquiles, can't wait to try this!