Special equipment: 4 individual casserole dishes
To make the salsa:
Preheat the broiler or oven to 550 degrees F.
Remove husks from the tomatillos and rinse under warm water to remove the stickiness. Put the chiles, garlic, onion and tomatillos on a baking sheet. Season with a little olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste. Put on a rack about 1 or 2 inches from the heat, and cook, turning the vegetables once, until softened and slightly charred, about 5 to 7 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the garlic and pull off the tops of the chiles. Add all the broiled ingredients to a blender along with the fresh cilantro and puree. Pour in 1/4 cup of chicken broth and blend to combine. Add more broth, if needed, for desired consistency.
To make the chilaquiles:
Pour about 1/3 cup vegetable oil into a large saute pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the tortillas, working in 2 or 3 batches, and cook until lightly browned and nearly crisp. Drain the tortillas on paper towels and discard the remaining oil. Wipe the pan with a paper towel.
In the same pan, add the tomatillo salsa and bring to simmer over low heat. Add the tortillas and cook until soft but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide the mixture among 4 individual casserole dishes. Top with the cheese crumbles and onion rings. Drizzle with Mexican crema, sprinkle with some chopped fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
*Cook's Note: Salsa Verde means "green sauce" and is typically made with tomatillos, green chiles and cilantro. Make your own fresh, or you can also find it canned at most supermarkets.
Tomatillos are a small green fruit encased in a tissue paper-like husk. They should be used when they are still green, before they are ripe and the husk has turned brown. Before using, remove the husk, rinse and dry the fruit. (They do not need to be seeded.) They are found in most supermarkets
**Cook's Note: Chilaquiles is a Mexican brunch dish invented to use leftovers. It is made with day old tortillas (cut or torn into chips) and salsa verde. They are cooked together until the tortillas are slightly softened. Chilaquiles are eaten alone or with beans, eggs or shredded chicken.
***Cook's Note: Queso fresco is a white, mild, fresh Mexican cheese with the texture of fresh farmer's cheese in the US. Queso fresco can be found in many supermarkets, Latin specialty markets or online. It can be substituted with a mild feta cheese.
Recipe courtesy of Marcela Valladolid, 2009