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Chilaquiles: Mexico’s Bountiful Brunch
Chilaquiles make for a balanced, belly-filling start to the day. Peek under this casserole’s layers with Groupon’s introduction.
Dried-out tortillas, scraps from last night’s dinner, and lots of sauce. The traditional components of Mexican breakfast dish chilaquiles are humble through and through, a sort of savory answer to french toast in conception. This quick, homey casserole starts with a foundation of fried corn tortillas, broken into pieces, cut into strips, or sectioned into quarters; tortilla chips will do the trick as well. Their thick, dry texture is necessary to withstand the next step of the cooking process: simmering or baking in red or green chili sauce until slightly softened. Next comes a spread of queso fresco, sour cream, and eggs cooked to order, and then whatever else the chef wants to pile on—black beans, perhaps, or chorizo, chicken, or a second pan of chilaquiles. In the Mexican state of Sinaloa, a cream-based sauce may be used in place of tomato salsa, and a Tex-Mex cousin, migas, is a sauceless mixture of tortilla strips, chilies, tomatoes, cheese, and scrambled eggs.
Chilaquiles might not have the US ubiquity of tacos or burritos, but they’re among the foundational dishes of modern Mexican cuisine. The template has apparently always been flexible: El Cocinero Español, a seminal 1898 cookbook by Encarnación Pinedo, supplies a recipe that begins “Fry ground chili, and when it is almost ready, add the amount of water that seems right.”