Chilaquiles Verdes with Pepitas and Pickled Red Onion and Jalapeño
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1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and halved
1 large poblano pepper, stemmed and halved
1 pound tomatillos (12 to 16 medium), stemmed, husked and halved
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
Pickled Red Onion and Jalapeño
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup water
½ cup distilled white vinegar
1 small medium red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 jalapeño pepper, cut into 1/8-inch slices
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
7 ounces corn tortilla chips, about half of a store-bought bag, or, if prepared fresh, use 15 corn tortillas, each cut into 6 triangles
¼ cup grated cotija cheese
1/3 cup Mexican cream or Basic Crema
¼ cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
For the Verde sauce: Heat the broiler to 500 degrees.
Mix the onion, garlic, peppers, and tomatillos in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil, season with kosher salt, and toss to coat evenly with the oil.
Line a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread out the sauce ingredients. Broil, turning occasionally, until the ingredients are completely softened and well-charred on a few surfaces, about 15 minutes.
Remove from the broiler and transfer to a blender along with any collected juices. Add the cilantro and blend until smooth, starting slowly and gradually increasing the speed to prevent explosion. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
For the pickled onions and jalapeño: Combine the sugar, salt, water, and vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, whisking frequently until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the onion and jalapeño, pressing them down into the liquid. Cover tightly and let stand for 2 minutes, then stir to redistribute. Let stand 10 minutes more. Set the saucepan aside.
To assemble the chilaquiles: Heat the oven to 350 degrees and don't forget to readjust your oven rack so it's in the middle position.
Transfer the Verde sauce and chicken broth to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the chips, and carefully fold them in until totally coated with the sauce.
Transfer the chips to a large ovenproof casserole dish. Sprinkle the chips with cotija cheese. Bake until the chilaquiles are slightly dried and the cheese is very lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, drizzle with cream, sprinkle with pepitas, and scatter a handful of the pickled red onion and jalapeño over the top. (Any extra onions can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.) Serve immediately.
Serves four to six.
Contributed by J. Kenji López-Alt, Chief Creative Officer at Serious Eats in "Ultimate Nachos" by Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson (St Martins Press, 2013)
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