"Are you making breakfast nachos?" my husband asked as he wandered into the kitchen and saw me throwing tortilla chips and salsa into a skillet. He wasn't too far off the money: Chilaquiles is a Mexican breakfast dish traditionally made by pan-frying strips of stale corn tortillas and then simmering them in salsa.
Variations can be as fancy or as basic as the cook desires. You can top them with beans or shredded slow-cooked meat, use homemade salsa, or do as I do here and bake a few eggs into the dish.
Because it's breakfast, which I'm not always 100 percent awake for, and because we've always got them on hand, I take a little shortcut and crush corn tortilla chips instead of the usual cut-up tortillas. Even though the point of the dish is that the tortillas soften into a sort of casserole texture, I love the toothy bite tortilla chips bring to this version.
Skillet Chipotle Chilaquiles with Eggs
vegetable oil or olive oil
minced chipotle plus 1 tablespoon sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo
thick corn tortilla chips (about 4 cups)
shredded Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or Mexican cheese blend
- Garnishes and add-ons (all optional):
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed, oven-safe 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Stir the chipotle and sauce into the oil. Add the tortilla chips in handfuls, gently crushing them into large pieces in your hands as you do so.
Stir the chips with the chipotle sauce to coat. Fry in the pan for a minute or two, then stir in the salsa.
Use a spatula to make 4 wells in the chips and salsa. Crack the eggs one at a time into a ramekin or small cup, then pour the eggs into each of the wells.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, just until the whites of the eggs are cooked through and the yolks are set, but still have a bit of jiggle to them.
Sprinkle the cheese over the chilaquiles and bake just until the cheese melts.
Slice into 4 wedges and serve immediately with your favorite add-ons, like scallions, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and limes.
I like my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with a little spice, so I always keep a can of chipotles in adobo around to add some smoky, incendiary flavor to my Mexican-inspired meals. If you ever wonder what to do with that can once you've pulled out the requisite amount needed for a recipe, try this trick: Chop the remaining chipotles and dollop them, along with the sauce, in 1 or 2-tablespoon amounts on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze solid, transfer to freezer bags, and save the pucks to throw into your next recipe.