Mexican Breakfast, from my book A Gringo's Guide to Authentic Mexican Cooking.
The average breakfast in the States often goes something like this: You get up, walk half-asleep into the kitchen, press the button on the coffee maker, and go take a quick shower. Then it’s back to the kitchen to make those little toaster breakfast pastries: “Mmmm, I think I’ll have the Queso Mexicali.” Then you kiss your dog, pat the kids on the head, and run to the car with a cup of coffee in one hand and that delicious prefabricated stale breakfast thing in the other. That is, of course, when you have the extra time to make breakfast. On the days you don’t, it’s good old “Eggs McDrive-Thru.” Both breakfasts seem to get choked down while fighting traffic and planning your day. The average household in Mexico, while it doesn’t have five hundred channels on the tube, does have the time to sit down and eat a decent breakfast at a relaxed pace before taking on the burdens of the workday.
In this chapter you’ll discover new ways to use corn tortillas and dried chiles with some traditional Mexican favorites you may not have tried, but will absolutely love, like chilequiles and migas. In no time at all you’ll be making huevos rancheros, posole, and menudo just like they serve in good Mexican-food restaurants every Sunday morning here in the states.
Then, after you’ve made your first authentic Mexican breakfast, I want you to do one more thing. Relax, slow down, talk a little with your spouse and kids while enjoying your own cooking, and have a slow, second cup of coffee. As they say in Mexico, “The work will still be there.”
This is a delicious way to use up day-old tortillas. It’s my wife’s favorite.
4 tablespoons corn oil
4 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
Salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped, plum tomato
1/4 cup chopped, white onion
2 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
Heat 3 1/2 tablespoons of the corn oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Fry the tortilla strips until they start to crisp. Remove from oil, salt, and drain on paper towels. Heat remaining oil in a clean skillet and stir-fry the chopped tomato, onion, and chiles for 30 seconds. Add tortilla strips.
Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt. Pour eggs over the vegetables in the skillet and cook, stirring often, until fully cooked. Serve with salsa and homemade refried beans or rice.
Chilaquiles are served throughout the southwest and Mexico. I love them for breakfast with a little Carne Asada.
8 dried New Mexico Mild Red chiles
2 cups chicken broth
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
10 corn tortillas. cut into wedges
corn oil for frying
1/4 white onion, julienne
1/4 cup Queso Cotija or Monterey jack cheese
Roast the chiles on a hot frying pan until soft and pliable. Remove chiles
from the pan and allow to cool down a little. Remove stems and seeds.
Place the chiles and all other sauce ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer for 15 minutes.
Pour in a blender, 3/4 of a cup at a time, and puree (Be careful hot
liquids expand in a blender and can spill out the top and burn you). Work
the sauce through a wire sieve into a bowl, mashing with the back of a rubber spatula,
until chile solids are left. Discard chile solids. Set the sauce aside.
In a large heavy frying pan, heat up about 1/3 of an inch of oil. Fry the
Tortilla wedges, a handful at a time, until just crisp. Remove them from
the oil and while the next batch is frying drain them on a paper towel.
After all the tortillas are fried and drained. Pour half the sauce into a
baking dish, arrange the tortilla wedges so they are flat and then pour in
remaining sauce. Bake in a 350º oven for 15 minutes. Garnish with white
onion and crumbled queso cotija.