A recipe for the ultimate Mexican breakfast with homemade crispy tortilla chips tossed with zesty ancho chili sauce, topped with avocado, jalapenos, tomato, queso blanco, and a fried egg.
Chilaquiles, in short, SERIOUSLY ROCK. You may have enjoyed them in Mexican restaurants off the menu, but making them at home is somewhat simple, provided you're comfortable with lightly frying tortillas. I just published a recipe for this - How to Make Homemade Crispy Tortilla Chips - to help you get started. Chilaquiles are flat out delish with homemade tortillas, but if you're not comfortable with making them at home, you can always opt to use chips from a bag. That will work too, though I've include the recipe for frying the tortillas with this recipe.
What are Chilaquiles?
Chilaquiles a traditional Mexican dish made from fried corn tortillas that are tossed with a spicy red or green sauce, then topped with a number of ingredients. While it can be served anytime of day, it is popularly served for breakfast with a fried egg over the top. There are numerous regional differences in how chilaquiles are served, mostly differing in topping choices, though many argue whether the tortilla chips should remain crispy or allowed to soften in the sauce. The choice comes down to personal preference.
For this recipe, I've opted for the rojo, or "red" version, with a homemade red ancho chili sauce that isn't very spicy, yet is filled with bold flavor. Ancho peppers are probably my favorite dried pepper to work with. They're so earthy and rich and any resulting sauce carries over that richness and depth that will draw you to the ancho like it did for me. One important key in making a successful ancho sauce is to lighty toast the ancho peppers before rehydrating them. Toasting the skins in a dry pan loosens up the oils and heightens the overall flavor of your final sauce. Please don't skip that step.
How to Make Chilaquiles Rojos?
Make your red chili sauce first. You can make this sauce ahead quite easily. Simply toast the ancho peppers on a hot pan a couple minutes per side. The peppers will puff slightly and the skins will begin to turn red. Some people like to char the skins, though I prefer only a light toasting. Set the toasted ancho peppers into a pot of boiling water and remove from heat. Let them soak covered in water for 30 minutes until they are softened. The soaking liquid will change color as some of the ancho leeches into it. There are nutrients within this liquid, so don't throw it away. Reserve some of it to use to help form the sauce.
Remove the stems and coarsely chop the anchos. Add them to a food processor along with your cooked onion, garlic, tomato, herbs, vinegar and the reserved soaking liquid. I also added just a bit of honey to balance it with a bit of sweet. Strain the sauce through a sieve then combine it with tomato sauce for a full bodied, rich red ancho sauce. I will often make an extra large batch of this sauce to keep on hand for other recipes.
Now! For the tortillas, as mentioned, I always prefer to fry my own at home. Sure, it takes a little extra time, but you will be rewarded immensely for your efforts.
First, add canola oil to a wide pot and heat to medium. Do not let it boil or smoke. Slice the tortillas into 6 wedges and fry them in the oil in batches a couple minutes per side, until they begin to slightly brown. Remove and drain them on a paper towel lined plate. Dash them with salt while they are hot. Use more salt that you might think. The salt clings to the warm oil and guarantees a huge flavor burst. Done! Easy, right?
Then, simply warm up your ancho chili sauce in a pan, toss in the chips, coat them up just right, and serve with all of your favorite toppings. I used jalapeno slices, avocado, chopped tomato, fresh chopped cilantro, a fried egg on top, and some homemade queso blanco. Wait, you've never made queso blanco? What? Here's a recipe - How to Make Homemade Queso Blanco. Awesome stuff!
I hope you enjoy your chilaquiles!
Patty's Perspective: This is truly an authentic Mexican meal, so perfectly homemade. Who would think something so simple could be so unique, and it really is HUGE on flavor with chips tossed in a sauce. This sauce is crazy good. If you're ever looking for a unique Mexican style breakfast, you have found it here.
Chilaquiles Rojos with Ancho Chili Sauce – Recipe
- For the Ancho Chili Sauce
- 2 ancho chili peppers
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup chopped white onion
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small Roma tomato, chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoons honey
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- FOR THE CRISPY TORTILLAS
- 6 corn tortillas
- 1 cup canola oil or other neutral oil
- FOR SERVING
- Crumbled queso fresco
- Diced tomato
- Chopped jalapeno peppers
- Sliced avocado
- Chopped cilantro
- 1-2 fried eggs
- Make the ancho sauce first. Dry roast the ancho peppers on a hot pan about 1-2 minutes per side. The peppers will puff slightly and the skins will begin to turn red.
- Set them into a large pot of boiling water and remove from heat. Let them soak covered in water for 30 minutes. Reserve the soaking liquid.
- Remove the stems and coarsely chop the anchos. Add them to a food processor.
- Heat the oil in a pan to medium heat and add the onion. Cook about 5 minutes to soften.
- Add the garlic and tomato and cook another minute or so, until you can smell the garlic. Add them to the food processor.
- Add the vinegar, cumin, oregano and a bit of salt and pepper along with about 1 cup of the soaking liquid and honey. Process until it smooths out.
- Press the sauce through a coarse strainer into a bowl. I use a wooden spoon to push it through.
- Add it to a small bowl with the tomato sauce and stir it together.
- For the tortillas, add the canola oil to a wide pot and heat to medium. Do not let it boil or smoke.
- Slice the tortillas into 6 wedges and fry them in the oil in batches a couple minutes per side, until they begin to slightly brown.
- Remove and drain them on a paper towel lined plate. Dash them with salt while they are hot.
- Make the Chilaquiles – Add the ancho chili sauce to a wide pan and heat through.
- Stir in the tortillas and coat each of them with the sauce.
- Remove from heat. Top the chilaquiles with queso fresco, tomato, jalapeno, avocado, herbs, and a fried egg or 2. Enjoy!