When I lived there, the Lansing, Michigan area was lucky in having two authentic Mexican restaurants back when most places in the Midwest and East thought Taco Bell was Mexican food. I've already mentioned El Azteco in my recipe for enchiladas. El Az was a favorite haunt for Michigan State University students in East Lansing, and I hear it still is. Famous Taco, in Lansing proper, was the other restaurant My favorites there were the Nachos Grande (forget the pathetic chips with melted cheese served at lesser restaurants- these were a MEAL) and the chilequiles (a type of tortilla casserole). Although I've seen many recipes for chilequiles, this is THE one I wanted to duplicate those at Famous Taco. It's more complicated than the others, but worth the effort!

CHILEQUILES DE PUERCO (Pork and Tortilla Casserole)
(Source: Mexican Cooking Class Cookbook,
by the Editors of Consumer Guide
Beekman House, NY, 1984)

See Notes below for substitutions I made
8-6" corn tortillas, preferably a day old
2 lb boneless pork shoulder cut into 1-1/2" cubes
2 medium white onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tsp salt
lard or vegetable oil
2 fresh poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, deveined
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 can (13 oz) tomatillos, undrained, coarsely chopped
1 c whipping cream
1/4 c coarsely chopped fresh coriander
1 c shredded queso Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c Mexican cream or sour cream
5-6 tomato slices, cut into halves (optional)
fresh coriander sprigs (optional)
  1. Stack tortillas. Cut in half; then cut crosswise into 1/2"-wide strips. Spread loosely on wire rack; let stand 1-2 hr to dry slightly.
  2. Combine pork, 1 onion and salt in large saucepan; add water to cover pork Heat over high heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered until pork is tender, 1-1/2 hr.
  3. Melt enough lard in deep, heavy skillet for 1/2" depth. Heat to 375 deg and maintain this temperature. Fry tortilla strips in lard, about 1/3 at a time, stirring and turning occasionally until crisp, about 1 min. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  4. Heat 2 T lard in 10" skillet over medium heat until hot. Add remaining onion; saute until soft, about 4 min. Add chilies, garlic and cumin; saute 1 min. Stir in undrained tomatillos. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered for 15 min. Add whipping cream and cook uncovered over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until mixture is reduced to 2-2/3 c, about 10-12 min. Stir in chopped coriander.
  5. Heat oven to 375. Mix cheeses in small bowl. Drain pork and using two forks, pull it into coarse shreds.
  6. Spread 1/2 of tortilla strips in a greased, shallow 2-1/2 qt casserole. Add layers of 1/2 each pork, cream mixture, and cheeses, in that order. Repeat all layers.
  7. Bake until hot throughout and golden on top, 24-30 min. Garnish with tomato slices (on the perimeter of the dish), Mexican cream, and coriander sprigs.
NOTES: This dish can also be made with chicken. For the poblano chiles I substituted canned "diced green chilies" (Ashley's brand).

Updated: April 5, 1996
Comments or questions? Write to me at suemaster@interport.net... (NOTE: remove "master" from the address)

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