I love leftovers, but sometimes figuring out how to repurpose them is a challenge. Especially when it comes to party leftovers, like, oh, tortilla chips. Oh sure, it’s easy enough eat them in their natural state (and believe me, I do!), but you can only have chips for dinner so often before people start to talk.
Chilaquiles, with or without chicken, are a perfect solution. All you need are gluten-free tortilla chips, salsa, some protein, and a bit of cheese. Or skip the protein. It’s your call. Seriously, this recipe can be modified, reconfigured, or reimagined to suit your every taste and whim.
If you do this right, you are hitting a leftover trifecta: chicken, tortilla chips, and salsa. That’s a win!
When the craving for chili hits, you gotta go with it. Otherwise, it haunts you. There’s nothing in the world that can be substituted.
The process of making chili ranges from complex to very simple. My recipe is in the moderate range. Do a little work upfront, then let it simmer for a while. It’s very customizable (see the Notes and Meal Suggestions). This recipe calls for beef, but you can go with ground turkey (or shredded turkey). You can use pork. You can use chicken. Don’t want beans? Don’t have to have ‘em.
In fact, there is only one, unbreakable rule when it comes to chili-making: do not skimp on the cumin! You can adjust this seasoning, that ingredient, but the cumin is essential.
Once we were at a friend’s for a Super Bowl party. I took one sniff of his chili and knew it would be good. The cumin was right there. He seemed surprised that I knew about the cumin rule. I think he doesn’t get out enough.
A note about heat. My husband loves his food very spicy. I am more of a medium, and this recipe reflects my tastes. As you review the list of ingredients, take your personal tastes into consideration. You can always start on the careful side and adjust the seasonings as you go.