You may have noticed that more breakfast and brunch spots are offering chilaquiles on the menus. It’s no surprise — this traditional Mexican dish is a crowd-pleaser. Made with fried corn tortillas simmered in a red or green sauce, cheese, crema, and often, scrambled eggs, chilaquiles is a hearty, savory and comforting dish that will satisfy most palates.
On Fourth Street in Berkeley, Tacubaya makes a version with tortilla chips sauteed in a flavorful red guajillo chile sauce. Topped with perfectly scrambled eggs, the dish finds balance with the addition of raw white onion, herbaceous cilantro, sharp Cotija cheese and a generous garnish of crema.
If that sounds tempting, you can visit Tacubaya for breakfast (10 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday) and let the restaurant make it for you, but if you’re game (and you have three other hungry friends or family members to feed), you can try making the dish at home with the recipe below.
1 1/2 ounces dried guajillo chiles
1/3 cup canola oil
6 cloves garlic
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
10 ounces corn tortilla chips
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack, mozzarella, a Muenster cheese, or a mixture
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup thinly sliced white onion
1/3 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup crema or sour cream, for serving
To prepare the sauce, place a dry sauté pan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chiles and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, pressing them into the pan and turning occasionally with tongs to prevent burning, until they are tobacco brown. While the chiles are still hot, remove the stems and seeds and submerge in a bowl of hot water for 20 to 30 minutes to rehydrate.
Return the sauté pan to low heat and add the oil and garlic. Slowly sauté the garlic for about 5 minutes, swirling occasionally, until lightly browned. The oil should bubble very gently around the cloves during cooking. Remove the cloves from the pan and reserve the oil for later sautéing use.
Place the stock in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Drain the chiles and place in a large blender. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, pepper, a few pinches of salt and about 1 1/2 cups of the chicken stock. Blend on high for about 30 seconds, until a thick paste begins to form. Gradually add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of stock until the sauce achieves the consistency of a thin tomato sauce — thick enough to coat the chips but thin enough to be somewhat absorbed. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
To prepare the chilaquiles, place a skillet over high heat and add the oil. Add about 2 cups of the guajillo sauce and bring to a boil, then add the tortilla chips. Sauté the chips in the sauce for about 3 minutes, stirring gently with a wooden spoon as the chips absorb the sauce. Continue to add sauce until all the chips are well coated, but not soupy; you may not use all of the sauce. Add the grated cheese and stir once or twice until lightly melted. Transfer to a serving platter or 4 individual plates.
Place a separate nonstick pan over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the eggs, season with salt, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, to desired doneness. A softer egg tends to contrast the bite of the chips a little better. Evenly spread the eggs over the top of the chips, sprinkle with the onion, Cotija cheese and cilantro, and drizzle with cream. Serve immediately.
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