Au Cheval corners chilaquiles market

October 26, 2013 (CHICAGO)

"Definitely a little messy, but I think that they're a really great addition to our menu beyond just the burgers," said Erika Golz, the GM at Au Cheval.

Tortilla chips are fried, then tossed with salt, coated in a homemade salsa verde, as well as a handful of chihuahua cheese. Placed into a cast iron boat, they're topped with loose, scrambled eggs, then a bit more chihuahua, as well as queso fresco; pickled red onions, jalapenos and several tablespoons of fresh guacamole and sour cream, plus a handful of fresh cilantro, presented with a gravy boat of extra salsa verde.

"There is the creaminess and butteriness of the eggs, mixed with the spiciness of the jalapeno and the sweetness of the pickled onion. So it does definitely have a range of flavor in there but it's definitely a little heavier," said Golz.

In Skokie, Libertad takes a more Oaxacan approach, since that's where the chef is from. He says chilaquiles were created to use up stale tortillas.

"They make the homemade tortillas everyday to eat, so whatever is left over for the tortillas, we put in the sun to dry it, and we serve it on the weekend," said chef Armando Gonzalez.

He sautees onions and smoked bacon, then makes a fresh salsa from serrano chiles, tomatillos and cilantro.

The salsa is added to the skillet. Tortillas are chopped into strips, fried until crisp, then added to the skillet as well. After he plates it in a shallow bowl, he drizzles over sour cream and queso fresco, adds a fried egg, as well as a salad of baby arugula tossed with balsamic.

"That's how we got more flavor," said Gonzalez.

So two very different chilaquiles - one in the city, one here in the suburbs - and the version here at Libertad will always stay the same, but remember, it's only available for brunch on Sundays.

The versions at Au Cheval are available not only during weekend brunch, but also after midnight during the week.

Au Cheval
800 W. Randolph St.

7931 N. Lincoln Ave., Skokie

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