I fixed this for our friend Wally of Gypsy Wind last night. I referred to it as “Mexican Lasagna.” After his first couple of bites, Wally asked, “What is Mexican Lasagna?” Barry replied, “Chillaquillas.” Wally rolled his eyes at Barry. “Jargon!” he said. Barry persisted. “Really, it’s chillaquillas.” Wally made us hoot with laughter when he responded, “That doesn’t tell me anything about it, unless it’s a fuzzy car — you know, a Chia-Kia!”
1 dozen corn tortillas, preferably stale
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
1 T oil
1/2 t oregano
1 t basil
1/4 t salt
2 C tomatoes, chopped
2-1/2 C buttermilk (see note below)
1/4 C grated cheddar
1/3 C chopped green chilis or green peppers
Tear tortillas into 2-inch pieces. In a big heavy skillet, saute the onion, garlic, chili powder, and cumin lightly in the oil, then stir in the tortilla pieces, coating them with the oil and spices. Turn the tortillas into a large bowl (don’t worry about where the spices go) and add the herbs, salt, and tomatoes to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring, simmer about 5 minutes.
Stir the tortillas, sauce, buttermilk, cheese, and chilis together, reserving a little cheese for the top. Cover and cook over low heat until the mixture is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
Let sit for 20 minutes before serving — even better, use a cast-iron pan or turn it into a casserole and put it in the oven at 325 degrees.
Note: I don’t normally keep buttermilk on hand, but if you buy one quart, you’ll have just the right amount for one batch of Chillaquillas and one batch of Tall and Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits. It’s worth the trip to the store.