Quickly made from simple ingredients on hand, chilaquiles are a terrific way to use up old tortillas. Served with poached eggs, it makes a colorful and hearty brunch dish for a winter morning. To save time you can use purchased salsa instead of making the tomatillo sauce.
Chilaquiles with Poached Eggs
For the tomatillo sauce:
- 12 tomatillos
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup (1/4 oz./7 g) chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Tbs. plus 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) canola oil
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) chicken stock
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 18 day-old corn tortillas, 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, torn or cut into strips
- 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 4 to 6 large eggs
- 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) cumbled queso fresco or fresh goat cheese
- Hot sauce for serving (optional)
1. To make the tomatillo sauce, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Husk and rinse the tomatillos. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the tomatillos and cook until they soften and become paler in color, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Transfer the tomatillos to a colander and let cool. In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatillos, garlic, onion, jalapeños and cilantro. Process until the mixture forms a smooth puree. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
3. To make the chilaquiles, in a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the oil. Add the tomatillo sauce and cook, stirring, until the sauce darkens, 4 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the stock and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until a medium-thick sauce forms, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and set aside.
4. In a heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) oil to 375°F (190°C) on a deep-frying thermometer. (If you don’t have a thermometer, dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil; it should sizzle immediately and vigorously.) Working in batches, add the tortilla strips and fry until golden on one side, about 30 seconds. Turn and fry until golden on the second side, 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
5. Pour off all but 1 to 2 tsp. of the oil from the pan and place over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 1 minute. Add the tortilla strips and 2 cups of the tomatillo sauce and cook, stirring gently, until the chips are soft, 3 to 4 minutes. (Reserve the remaining sauce for another use.) Stir in the cheese and half of the oregano. Continue to cook until the cheese has melted, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining oregano.
6. Pour 2 inches (5 cm) of water into a large saucepan and add the lemon juice. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Break an egg into a small bowl, making sure the yolk doesn’t break. Gently slide the egg into the simmering water. Repeat with the remaining eggs, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Keep the water at a gentle simmer. Cook until the whites are set, 4 to 5 minutes.
7. Just before the eggs are done, divide the chilaquiles among four plates. Using a slotted spoon, lift each egg from the water, letting the excess water drain into the pan. Trim any ragged edges of egg white with kitchen scissors. Top each serving of chilaquiles with a poached egg and some of the queso fresco. Serve immediately, with hot sauce alongside, if desired. Serves 4.
Bring a taste of Mexico to your table with our mouthwatering collection of down-home dishes in Rustic Mexican, by Deborah Schneider.