This is one of my favorite party dishes. It is quite labor-intensive but the different elements can be prepared and assembled one or two days in advance and all you have to do the day of the party is put it in the oven. I serve it as a stand alone dish with a salad, or as the vegetable/starch or first course for a celebratory dinner.
Serves 6 -8 persons
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
l medium onion sliced in thin half-moons (about l cup)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 poblano, Anaheim, or California long green chiles, roasted, peeled, and seeded by directions on p. 000, diced
l pound huitlacoche
1/4 cup fresh epazote. or use 2 tablespoons dried reconstitued in boiling water until softened
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Prepared Sour Cream (see recipe below)
1/2-1 pound shredded white cheddar cheese
In large skillet, heat lard or oil over medium-high heat until very hot but not quite smoking. Add onion and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the diced chiles and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add huitlacoche and epazote. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes. Set aside. Can be prepared one day in advance.
You will need a lightly buttered 9 or 10-inch, oven-proof dish. It can be either square or round.
Arrange crepes to completely cover bottom of dish (5 o 6).
Spread about 1/3 of the prepared sour cream on the crepes in a thin layer.
Top with half of the huitlacoche mixture.
Add 1/3 of the cheese.
Add another layer of crepes, sour cream, huitlacohe and cheese
Top with one final layer of crepes; spread remaining sour cream on top; add cheese. can be assembled one day in advance.
When ready to serve, preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Bake, covered with aluminum foil for 35 minutes; remove foil, and cook until golden a shown.
CREMA AGRIA PREPARADA
(Aromatic Sour Cream Mixture)
This is an endlessly adaptable formula for which American sour cream, though unlike the cream of my childhood, works well. I use it to make Chilaquiles and in my famous rice casserole (Arroz con Crema y Poblanos) and as a dip or sauce for fried oysters, fish or shrimp, or crudites.
“Preparada” is a hard word to translate. It usually indicates that an ingredient has been “elaborated,” or converted into something a little different in the handling. The very flavorful Mexican cream is generally used plain; in my own cooking I have developed this non-traditional “prepared” version based on a sour cream mixture used by one of my early teachers, Lillian Haines.
2 cups cultured sour cream
l small onion, finely chopped (about l/2 cup)
l small garlic clove, minced (l teaspoon)
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients and let rest 5 minutes to blend the flavors. It loses its freshness quickly but can be held a couple of days tightly covered in the refrigerator.
Yield: slightly more than 2 cups