Pollo O’Carlos

Sorry dad. I went Mexican for St Patrick’s Day. I mean, there is some basis for this if I really needed to excuse myself, which I don’t. So many Irishmen died in the Mexican civil war that there is a plaque for them in the Plaza San Angel in Mexico City (or CDMX, if you’re in the know). I have not posted about Pollo Carlos since 2017 . . . continued below.

I did manage to get an Irish flag on my house.

Pollo Carlos a kind of tomato-less Mexican-ish lasagna. I don’t recall what motivated me to make it the first time but it was so good that I always thought. . . when I have my restaurant I’m gonna. . . it is in some ways responsible for the misery of my having opened a restaurant. Dammit to hell.

It’s hyper easy, if somewhat tedious if you’re cooking your own chicken. It is also very forgiving about time and ingredients. I mean you cannot substitute Twinkies for chicken but you need enough shredded, sloppy chicken to make a layer in a 9 x 12 casserole (buttered). Approx 5-ish chicken breast halves, poached them with some chopped onion and about 3 tsp of cumin and shredded. But you could use any cooked chicken that you happened to have laying around. Add about 1/4 cup of chicken stock with a TBL of flour or cornstarch mixed into it. Add a tablespoon of butter into it as well.

I use flour tortillas. I have used corn, but it does not taste the same. It’s good, but not goody good, as the drunk freak that Dave Kruck, a college roommate, brought into our apartment once said to me about my artwork. Well, he said my artwork was “not just good, it was goody good.” I believe he was also trying to get in my pants. His missing teeth precluded that from happening. But I digress.

Line the bottom of the casserole with tortillas. You can tear them up to make the corners. Then add the chicken mixture and dot with butter.

Layer with tortillas.

You’ll need about a pound of shredded cheese, 1 bag of pre shredded Monterey jack and one of Colby or whatever. Though I shred my own cheese. Thank you very much. Save enough for the top. Then mix the rest with 2 eggs, one can of chopped mild green chiles, 2 TBL flour and and 1/2 cup of milk. It actually helps if you whisk the milk and flour together first though no one dies if you don’t.

Layer with tortillas and top with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Uncover and drizzle with green chili sauce (imma do a shamrock shape to be all, you know, Irish-y and everything) and bake another 10 minutes. Let rest for at least 10 minutes.

You can make this in advance and bake it later. Or you can bake it, refrigerate it and cut it into squares and microwave it. That’s what we did in the restaurant where I made it until my soul was crushed into a tiny miserable shred of gloom and I closed it, the restaurant, I mean. The recipe lives on. 

My nephew Evan, who waited tables in the fore-mentioned restaurant, once ate a piece the size of a Buick right from the refrigerator like a giant candy bar. It’s that good.

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