Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles en Salsa de Chile Morita (Chilaquiles with Chile Morita Sauce)

One of my all-time favorite breakfasts, chilaquiles are fried tortillas with a red or green sauce and have been a popular Mexican dish for centuries. The word is derived from a Nahuatl (Aztec language) chilaquilitl which means herbs or greens in a chile broth.

The first recipe for chilaquiles in the United States dates to the 1898 cookbook El cocinero español (The Spanish Cook) by Encarnacion Pinedo.

For the sauce:
3 tomatoes
7 dried chiles moritas
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
½ onion, coarsely chopped
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
1 tablespoon avocado oil or other vegetable oil

For the chilaquiles:
12 corn tortillas
vegetable oil for frying
salt and pepper
6 eggs
½ cup queso fresco, crumbled
1 tablespoon parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon Mexican crema (optional)
1 avocado, thinly sliced (optional)

Prepare the salsa. Put tomatoes, garlic and onion in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, reserving the cooking water. Remove the seeds of the chiles and toast in a dry skillet. Place the toasted chiles in a blender with the onion, garlic, tomatoes, salt, pepper and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water. Blend until very smooth. Heat oil in a skillet, add the sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes. If the sauce thickens too much, add another ½ cup of the reserved cooking water. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Prepare the chilaquiles. Cut the tortillas into long, thin strips. Coat a large saute pan with about 1/8-inch vegetable oil and heat over medium-high. When hot, add the tortillas and fry until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and sprinkle with salt. Wipe pan clean and return the fried tortillas. Prepare the eggs. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Pour the eggs over the tortillas and cook, stirring frequently, until the eggs are as set as you like them. Remove from the heat. Put the hot salsa into the skillet and gently toss until the tortillas are well coated. Remove from the heat, place on a platter, garnish with the crumbled cheese, fresh herbs and optional crema and avocado slices.

Serves 4 to 6

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