It’s been a rough week. I don’t care who you are, the first week of September is generally a bummer. The return to routine after months of BBQ, bonfires and pool parties is a touch, um, unpalatable. How can the daily office grind and mountains of homework compete with non-existant bedtimes and second helpings of s’mores? How?! And while it is true that I’ve sidestepped this shared week of suffering by slipping off to Nova Scotia, I am well-acquainted with the September blues. That’s why I offer you these Chorizo Chilaquiles because I imagine you need them. The weekend you thought would never get here is here and you definitely need brunch.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of diving into a plate of chilaquiles allow me to introduce them. Chilaquiles are tortilla chips simmered in either a red chili tomato-based sauce or a green chili tomatillo-based sauce. The chips are then topped with queso fresco, cilantro, avocado and, wait for it, a fried egg. Yeah, chilaquiles are pretty extra and today’s Chorizo Chilaquiles are extra extra.
Chilaquiles are my boyfriend’s (you may know him as “Bae” from my Instagram feed) favorite brunch of all time. Our local brunch haunt, which is sadly no longer with us, made a damn good plate of them. He ordered them so often that they stopped bothering to give him a menu. And every year, when we land in Tulum, Mexico, we have to make a b-line for the food truck that sells chilaquiles. Have to! The man is a chilaquiles nut! So, I knew I had my work cut out for me when I decided to try my hand at the hallowed dish. The bar was high but I’m nothing if I’m not ambitious.
So, upon embarking on this journey, I was immediately confronted with a very important choice: green or red? It’s a Sophie’s-Choice-style question if you ask me – it’s hard loving the tomato and the tomatillo equally. So, rather than choose, I made the bold move of adding both.
Then it was time to consider the heat source for this sauce. And at this point, I feel I should warn you this sauce turned out to be well and truly hot. My bf has a fire-proof stomach and after two years of living with him, I’ve lost all sense of what is spicy and what is insane. So, I will tell you what I added and leave it to you to apply discretion. I knew I wanted a smokiness to the sauce so I added a whole can of chipotle peppers. And, because I have no respect for my own well-being, I added two diced jalapenos. Again, this resulted in a very hot sauce. If you’re not into that, cut these amounts in half. To be honest, the sauce was a little hot for me. But my bf? Nope, he was happy as a clam.
So, with the sauce sorted, it came down to the chips. I’d always wanted to make my own tortilla chips because chips hot and fresh from the oil are so much better. Are these Chorizo Chilaquiles a particularly brilliant showcase for fresh, fried chips? Probably not. The chips are destined to be simmered in sauce, so the quality doesn’t have to be impeccable. But I thought I’d give the whole chip-making-process a try because, in this instance, if I screwed them up it would be hard to tell.
Now, I can safely say my trepidation around frying my own chips was completely unfounded. It was simpler than simple. But if you have some stale tortilla chips lying around, by all means, use them in these Chorizo Chilaquiles. You really don’t have to go the extra mile and fry your own. But I will say, take care to use thick cut tortilla chips. You’ll want the extra structural integrity because chilaquiles mush is kinda no fun.
The final piece in this delicious puzzle was the chorizo. The important thing about the chorizo is it must be uncooked. Not the salami-like-deal you see at the deli counter, although that chorizo is delicious. No, for these Chorizo Chilaquiles you need uncooked Mexican chorizo. This may not be something that is readily available in your area. If that is the case you can sub the chorizo with any ground meat. It won’t taste exactly the same but it will still taste dang good.
Finally, a word about toppings. The more traditional cheese used in chilaquiles is queso fresco. I used Oaxaca cheese here because I wanted nachos as much as I wanted chilaquiles. In other words, I needed a good cheese-pull. Queso Fresco is not a cheese-pull cheese, so the Oaxaca was in. If you’re not familiar with Oaxaca cheese or you can’t find it, feel free to sub it out for regular ol’ mozzarella. Again, it’ll taste a little different but it will still taste dang good.
So, that’s all I’ve got to say about these Chorizo Chilaquiles other than you should definitely make them. They are so good! So so good! I realize that’s not particularly descriptive but it’s hard to explain something this good.
Chorizo Chilaquiles with Spicy Chipotle Sauce
Homemade Tortilla Chips
- 12 to rtillas
- 1 1/2 cup canola oil
- Kosher salt for sprinkling
- 1 white onion diced, divided
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 jalapeños diced
- 1/2 cup light beer
- 1 can whole tomatoes
- 3 to matillos husk removed and quartered
- 1 can chipotle peppers
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 454 g 1lb ground Mexican chorizo
- 1 batch tortilla chips see above or 1 large bag of store bought chips
- 1/2 cup Oaxaca cheese or mozzarella shredded
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- 1/2 avocado diced
- 1/8 cup [pickled red onions|https://www.rhubarbandcod.com/street-corn-stuffed-portobellos/}
- Lime wedges to serve
For the chips
- Slice each of the tortillas into 6 wedges and set aside.
- Pour the oil in a large cast iron skillet and heat to 360°F. Working in batches, Add the tortilla wedges to the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Transfer the finished chips to a plate lined with paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
- Once all the chips are fried and salted, set them aside to cool completely.
For the Chilaquiles
- Heat a quarter-sized amount of olive oil in a large, deep skillet until shimmering. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Throw in the garlic and jalapeños and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
- Pour in the beer and deglaze the pan. Bring the beer up to a boil and add the canned tomatoes with their juices, the tomatillos, chipotle peppers, the cumin, and the coriander seed to the skillet. Give the mixture a quick stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the mixture to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the simmered sauce to a large food processor and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet and add another quarter-sized amount of olive oil to it. Heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chorizo and saute until browned.
- Pour the pureed sauce over the chorizo and stir to combine. Bring the mixture back up to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- Add the chips to the sauce and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle the chips with cheese and cover the skillet to melt. Once the cheese has melted, remove the chilaquiles from the heat.
- While the cheese is melting fry the eggs and place on top of the finished chilaquiles. Top the chilaquiles with cilantro, avocado, and pickled red onions.
- Serve immediately with a side of lime wedges and a couple of breakfast beers.