Chee-la-kee-lace! It's so fun to say!
I have to bow down and thank WWW for opening my eyes to this wonderful medley of Mexican flavors. I've read a lot of recipes, and basically, anything goes. It was created to use up leftovers like chicken, cheese, and tortillas.
The key ingredient (for me) would have to be the sauce. I combined ideas from all sorts of recipes to make a kick-ass base that I'll most definitely be using as a ranchero sauce in an upcoming meal: huevos rancheros!
- 28 oz can peeled tomatoes (drained, but reserve 1/2 cup of the juice)
- 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
- about 2 Tablespoons of Canola oil
- small red onion, minced
- 2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 5 corn tortillas, brushed on both sides lightly with canola oil (you could certainly use bagged chips in place of corn tortillas)
- 1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken
- 1/4 cup chihuahua cheese or queso añejo
- 1/8 cup black olives
- fresh chopped cilantro
- salt, to taste
In a blender or processor, pulse the tomatoes, reserved juice, and chipotles til liquefied.
Heat the oil in a deep skillet on med-high. Add the onion, cook till translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min more. Lower heat if it's too hot.
Add the tomato mixture and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the stock, continuing to let it bubble on medium heat for about 20 minutes (this is a good time to crisp up those tortillas!), until flavors blend and sauce is slightly thick. Season with salt. Add cilantro, remove from heat.
Place all the corn tortillas on a baking sheet, and brush lightly with canola oil on both sides. Place in a 400 degree oven for about 7 mins per side, flipping until crisp. Remove from oven, set aside to cool. Keep the oven on!
In a cast iron enamel skillet, (I used this because it can be used on the stove, and in the oven.) Add about a cup of the sauce. Break the tortillas into the sauce in big pieces, and stir around until slightly limp. Add the chicken, the cheese, and the olives.
Place in oven, uncovered on 400 until cheese is all melty - about 5 minutes.
Note: Some recipes showed these more crunchy, by just drizzling the sauce atop the chips. Some showed the tortillas being submerged in the sauce. These were "spoonable" since they were limp (but not soggy!), and made for a great side or main dish. I served these with my Stuffed Poblanos.
I suspect this sauce would make a terrific bloody mary, too! Stay tuned for huevos rancheros!