Fresh rolls with refried beans + chilaquiles + melted cheese + pico de gallo

Tecolote, pronounced TAY-KO-LO-TAY comes from the Mesoamerican language Nahautl, meaning owl.  The dish got its name because it was invented in Sanborns, a pretty mediocre Mexican restaurant chain, whose logo happens to be the owl.   While I don’t like most of their food, I have to give Sanborns credit for the creation of this delicious carb overload.  Tecolotes are a combination of two classic Mexican dishes:  molletes – bread with beans, melted cheese and pico de gallo; and chilaquiles – tortilla chips fried in salsa.  This is a perfect dish for cold winter mornings and is excellent  hangover food.

As simple as this dish may seem, it would actually take a pretty long time to make everything from scratch all at once.   This is one of those dishes that I like to make when I have a pot of beans that I need to finish and some extra salsa lying around.  In this recipe I use salsa verde for the chilquiles, but you can substitute it for other salsas that you may have in the fridge.  If you don’t want to make beans, salsa and pico de gallo, you can buy them at supermarkets ready-made. Another option is to pick and choose what you want to make and what you’d prefer to buy.

This is my own personal recipe based on the tecolotes that I´ve eaten in the restaurant La Cita in the San Rafael neighborhood in Mexico City and in Sanborns.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  •  Any sort of white cheese that melts (i.e. monterray jack, swiss, queso asadero, queso oaxaca)
  • 1 cup of refried beans
  • 2 bolillos or plain rolls

Chilaquiles

  •  2-3 handfuls of tortilla chips
  • ¼ cup of chopped onion
  • 1-1 ½ cups of green sauce (see recipe)

Pico de gallo

  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • ½  cup of chopped onion
  • ¼ cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 serrano chiles
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt to taste

Green Salsa

  • ¾ lb of tomatillos
  • 1-2 serrano chiles
  • ½ onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roasted
  • ¼ cup of chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil

Pico de gallo
Mix together the ingredients and let sit while you prepare the tecolotes.

Green Salsa
Heat water in a medium sized pot with the tomatillos, serrano chiles without the stem, the onion and garlic.  Cook until the tomatillos have softened and darkened in color.  Strain ingredients and blend.  Heat oil in a pan, add the sauce and cook for about 10 minutes.  The salsa should be sort of watery – not thick.  If the sauce is too thick add water or chicken broth.

Chilaquiles
Heat oil in pan and sauté the onion until slightly browned.  Add the tortilla chips, mix with the onions and add the salsa.  Cook until the tortilla chips have softened.

Putting together the tecolotes
Cut the rolls in half and remove the insides.  Add a layer of beans, chilaquiles and then cheese.  Heat in the oven until the cheese has melted.  Serve immediately with pico de gallo.

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