My Chicken Chilaquiles Verdes is a showstopper, filled with tortilla chips, tomatillo salsa, and chicken, then topped with eggs for a quick and zesty breakfast!
As Seen On TV!
I had a long, complicated journey to these Chicken Chilaquiles Verde. I grew up in San Antonio, Texas and lived for many years in San Diego, yet I never once came across the common Mexican breakfast of chilaquiles. How did that (not) happen? The first time I had ever even heard of the dish was when I was watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate on Cooking Channel. Marcella Vallodolid described chilaquiles she ate at a restaurant in Chula Vista, Ca (a town where where I once lived) and I was immediately obsessed. I was so obsessed that part of a vacation that The Boy and I took to San Diego centered around going to the same restaurant and eating the same chilaquiles as Marcella. True story.
Today, The Boy and I are 2,807 miles away from the Chicken Chilaquiles Verdes of our (my) dreams and I have no choice but to recreate them. The recipe is easier than you’d think and can be on the table in 60 minutes, start to finish. This is my version of Chicken Chilaquiles Verde and I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Literally, there are still chilaquiles dishes in my sink as I type this 😂. It’s that good! Let’s do this!
What are Chilaquiles?
Chilaquiles (pronounced Chee-lah-kee-les) are a traditional Mexican dish consisting of fried corn tortillas, simmered in a sauce, usually green, but a red sauce or a mole are not out of the question. Whenever I’ve seen them, they usually come with a protein, such as beans and/or chicken, and are often topped with a fried egg or two. And don’t forget melted cheese. Please.
What are the major ingredients for this recipe?
- Tomatillos Tomatillos look a little like small green tomatoes wearing khaki jackets. They are actually not even closely related to tomatoes, and they need their jackets removed before cooking. You can usually find them near avocados, plantains, coconuts, guava…all the foods most Mega Markets think are “exotic”.
- Jalapeños Usually two jalapeños are enough heat for this dish, but how do you know how many you’ll need or if they’re hot? Here’s the skinny on that. The older a jalapeño is, the more lines or striations you’ll see marking the surface. A younger, milder jalapeño will have a uniformly green skin, but just like me, the older they get, the more lines they get, and they also get hotter. Haha. Choose wisely.
- Tortilla chips I usually fry my own chips when making chilaquiles, but store bought chips are a fully acceptable alternative. Both ways are delicious, so do what you have the time/desire to do.
- Chicken If you have leftover roasted chicken (I never do) that will work great. Otherwise, I recommend picking up a rotisserie chicken from the Mega market. Where else can you get a perfectly roasted and seasoned chicken for less than $7? Not at my house.
- Eggs Some people love eggs, some people don’t. My opinion on the subject changes from day to day. In this recipe, you can add the eggs and bake the whole thing, shakshuka-style, you can fry some eggs and plop them onto each serving, or you can skip them altogether. It’s totally up to you.
- Make the tomatillo salsa You can absolutely use a store-bought tomatillo salsa, but this couldn’t be easier. You’ll just roast all the veggies on a sheet pan and then blend them in a food processor with honey, lime, cilantro, and some broth. Done.
- Bake saucy chips, chicken, and eggs Add salsa to tortilla chips (store bought or homemade), add cooked chicken, make little nests for the eggs (if using), cover, and bake.
- Garnish and serve You can top the chilaquiles with anything you like, but I cover mine with avocado, radishes, cilantro, quest fresco, and a bunch more stuff!
Tips for great Chilaquiles
- The tomatillo salsa is incredibly simple to make, and the whole dish can come together easily in less than an hour. But in a pinch, you can also find a fantastic salsa verde at the Mega Market. Rick Bayless has a delicious one, and so does Guy Fieri. You’ll need at least 2 cups.
- If you prefer your chilaquiles as crispy as possible, skip the baking, fry your eggs separately, and serve them on top of individual servings. Garnish as desired. I like them both ways, so I’ll leave that decision up to you. Enjoy!
Serves 4-6 normally. Sometimes The Boy is ravenous.
Chicken Chilaquiles Verde
Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)
- 1 1/2 lb tomatillos, washed after removing husks (about 8-10 medium tomatillos)
- 1 medium onion, cut in wedges
- 2 small jalapeños, stems removed
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 to 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
- Juice of lime
The ‘Stuff’ in the Chilaquiles
- 4 cups tortilla chips (you can fry or bake your own or use store bought)
- 2 cups shredded chicken (You can use leftover chicken, a rotisserie chicken, or cook a couple of breasts or thighs the night before)
- 1 cup shredded colby jack or pepper jack cheese
- 6 eggs
Garnish (Use any or all of the below. I used all because I GO HARD)
- Sliced radishes
- Sliced Avocado
- Sour cream
- Queso fresco
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Cracked black pepper
- Set oven rack on the second setting from the top. Preheat the oven to broil. Spray a large sheet pan with non stick spray. Place the tomatillos, onion, and jalapeño on the prepared sheet pan. Broil for about 10-12 minutes, tossing and turning the vegetables once while roasting. Add the garlic to the pan and broil another 5 minutes.
- The vegetables will have some charring, will have released their juices, and will be softened when ready. Cool on the pan for a few minutes, then add to a food processor or blender along with salt, lime juice, honey cilantro and 1/4 cup chicken broth. Blend or process to a course purée. Taste for salt adjustment. Add more broth if you want it thinner, but keep in mind that it will thicken a bit as it cools. It should be about the thickness of a chunky salsa. If very acidic add a touch more honey.
- Preheat oven to 425° Add chips to an oven safe pan (I used my 12 inch cast iron) and ladle sauce over top. Toss gently to mix, taking care not to break the chips. Top with cheese and then chicken. Using a large spoon, press nesting areas into the top of the tortilla chips to make room for the eggs. Crack each egg into a ramekin or small bowl and gently tip each egg into its nest. Cover pan with a lid or aluminum foil and place in oven for 7-10 minutes or until the whites are almost set. Uncover and allow to cook for a few more minutes, to brown the edges of the chips a bit. Remove pan from oven. Garnish chilaquiles with avocado, radishes, cilantro, and queso fresco. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes and cracked black pepper if desired. Serve with lime wedges.