This recipe is from Epicurious, and I make it as an alternative to my Mom's Turkey Tortilla Casserole, which was a much loved Thanksgiving and Christmas leftovers tradition. Mom's version was pure comfort food, like so many casserole recipes of its era, but relied heavily on cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup and an enormous amount of cheese. I still love it, but I now prefer this (somewhat) healthier and more authentic rendition.
adapted from Epicurious
Make the Tomatilla Salsa:
You can find the recipe here (as well as read about my adventures with The Stove From Hell). Make this early in the day-- it isn't difficult, but if you leave it to evening you'll start to feel a bit pressured, as you'll also need to fry the tortillas ahead of assembling everything.
Prep the tortillas:
2 (8-oz) packages corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips (let them sit for an hour or so to dry out)
Heat a generous amount of oil in a large deep skillet and fry tortilla strips in batches until crisp. Let them drain a bit in a large shallow bowl lined with paper towels. Reserve a couple tablespoons of the oil, as you'll be using it and the same pan to make the chilaquiles.
Now aren't you glad you made the salsa ahead of time? This is your reward. Dip a warm tortilla into that salsa. Eat it. Then threaten anyone else in the house with death if they even attempt (and they will) to eat any of it.
At this point you're done with the tedious bits. Make sure you've prepped everything in the list below and then you can relax until about half an hour before you want to eat.
1 large onion, chopped
14 oz turkey or chicken broth (if you made turkey soup after Thanksgiving you might have some broth in your freezer)
1 1/4 lb shredded cooked turkey meat (4 cups)
2 1/2 cups Tomatillo Salsa
6 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs
3 oz queso fresco or feta, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Saute the onion in the reserved oil until softened. Add the broth and turkey and simmer, stirring, until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup (10 - 15 minutes). Add the salsa and bring it to a boil. Take the skillet off the stove.
(At this point Epicurious contends that you can simply add the tortilla strips and the Monterey Jack to the skillet and toss it all together. I would very much like to see them do this, as the sheer volume of chips to turkey mixture is overwhelming and you will (if you are me) end up with runaway chilaquiles.)
So here is what I do: put about half of your tortilla chips into a big bowl. Sprinkle one third of the cheese over the chips and then dump the turkey mixture over it all. Using a large spoon and some tongs, start tossing it together. When it looks pretty well mixed, add the rest of the chips and another third of the cheese and toss some more. The chips will break up a bit and this is okay. Carefully pour the chilaquiles back into the skillet and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Slide the skillet into the oven and let it heat through for about 15 minutes or until it's bubbling.
While the chilaquiles are in the oven, whisk together crème fraîche and milk.
Serve chilaquiles topped with crème fraîche, cilantro, and the queso fresco or feta.
This dish freezes very well, so do make the whole recipe. It's a nice feeling to know it's there on those nights when you just haven't got the energy to cook.