- 4 pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded (see Note)
- 4 plum tomatoes
- 4 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 pound hen-of-the-woods mushrooms (maitake), separated into bite-size pieces
- One 13-ounce bag corn tortilla chips, crushed into 1/2-inch pieces
- Crumbled queso fresco, Mexican crema (or sour cream) and chopped white onion and cilantro, for garnish
- Preheat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle. Add the pasillas and toast over high heat, pressing them down with a spatula and turning once, until pliable and fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the pasillas to a heatproof bowl and cover with 2 cups of hot water. Let stand for about 30 minutes, until the pasillas are completely rehydrated.
- Meanwhile, in the same skillet, roast the tomatoes and garlic over high heat until charred, about 12 minutes.
- Transfer the rehydrated pasillas to a blender and add 1 cup of their soaking liquid. Puree until smooth, then strain through a coarse sieve into a bowl.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the pasilla puree and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until deep red and reduced nearly to a paste, about 15 minutes.
- Peel the roasted garlic and add it to the blender along with the tomatoes. Puree until smooth, then strain through a coarse sieve into the skillet with the pasilla paste; bring to a boil. Simmer the salsa over moderately low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
- In another large skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the pasilla salsa and bring to a simmer. Add the crushed tortilla chips and cook, tossing, for 3 minutes. Transfer the chilaquiles to a platter or plates and garnish with queso fresco, crema and chopped onion and cilantro. Serve right away.
Pasillas are long, black dried chiles with a fruity, herbaceous flavor. They are available at Latin markets.
Contributed By Alex Stupak Photo © Christina Holmes Published