July 19, 2016
It was totally my fault. From the number of invitations sent, the unreliable number of RSVPs, and my own wishful projections, I came up with the idea that some sixty people would be attending the big shindig. The actual attendance was more like 35—that's 35 very happy, enthusiastic people, so it was no small potatoes. But 35 people don't eat as much as sixty might, so we were left with a lot of food. A LOT of food.
One of the dishes I had made was a ton of black bean and corn salsa, tasty and colourful with red and yellow peppers, cilantro, jalapeno, and green onion in addition to the corn and the (home-cooked) black beans. During the first few days following the shindig we ate some of it as the dip it was, with (leftover) homemade corn chips. But the two of us couldn't make much of a dent in the post-party bowl. To use up even more of it, I made chilaquiles.
First I sliced and cooked half a medium onion. I beat four eggs, to which I added a big spoonful of ajvar (a red pepper and eggplant dip/spread, also left from the party), and I poured the egg mixture into the onions. This I cooked on medium-low heat, stirring from time to time, until the eggs were almost set.
In the meantime, I grated a generous cup of havarti (any melting cheese would do, but we had havarti left from the shindig).
In the bottom of a casserole dish I laid a foundation of tortilla chips and covered them with a heaping cup of the black bean salsa. When the eggs were about ready I spooned half of them over the salsa and sprinkled on half of the cheese. More chips went on top of the cheese, followed by another generous layer of the black bean salsa, then the rest of the eggs. The remainder of the cheese went on top and the dish went into the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
I don't expect anyone to have on hand exactly what I had. But the lesson is that you can use what you have to make some very tasty dishes. You can find recipes for chilaquiles, but keep in mind that this is a dish whose raison d'etre is to use up leftover tortilla chips. Some versions add cream instead of or in addition to the eggs. Some use fresh tomatoes or store-bought tomato-based salsa. Some add half a cup or more of chicken stock and even pulled or diced chicken meat.
Although I finished my version in the oven, chilaquiles are often a one-skillet dish made on top of the stove. In the ideal chilaquiles, most of the tortilla chips still have a little crunch.
I invite you to try your own version of chilaquiles the next time you have leftover black bean (or any) salsa and tortilla chips.