Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs

Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican dish Larry introduced me to shortly after we started dating. To me, it seems like the ultimate comfort food, the Mexican equivalent of a gourmet bowl of mac ‘n cheese, with intricate layers of flavor and texture.

The best chilaquiles I’ve had (although admittedly, I’m yet to try the dish in Mexico) was at a restaurant in Austin, Texas called Polvos. Larry ordered the chilaquiles for breakfast, and they came served with fried eggs on top. It was a beautiful and incredibly delicious and filling meal we talked about for days.

It only seemed fitting to try to recreate chilaquiles with fried eggs  for Larry’s birthday in late August. Armed with a recipe from Bon Appetit magazine, I made the red chile sauce from scratch, yet cheated on the tortilla chips (I used pre-made chips instead of frying my own). The resulting dish was delicious and well worth the time and effort. Luckily, we had plenty of extra red chile sauce, which we froze and used a few weeks later to celebrate Larry’s birthday all over again.

Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs (from Bon Appetit, March 2012; makes 4 servings)

Red chile sauce:
7 dried guajillo or New Mexico chiles
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
1 medium white onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapenño, with seeds, chopped
1/8 teaspoon smoked or Hungarian sweet paprika
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons honey
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

For assembly:
Vegetable oil (for frying)
9 6″ corn tortillas, quartered, or 36 large tortilla chips
Kosher salt
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco or mild feta
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack
4 large eggs
Finely chopped white onion
Thinly sliced radishes
Chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

For red chile sauce:
Place chiles in a medium bowl; cover with 2 cups boiling water. Let chiles soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid. Discard stems and seeds; place chiles in a blender. Add tomatoes, next 4 ingredients, and 1 cup reserved soaking liquid; purée until smooth.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add purée (it will splatter) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes (add more reserved soaking liquid if too thick). Stir in honey and season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before using.

For assembly:
Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour oil into a large skillet to a depth of 1 1/2″. Prop deep-fry thermometer in skillet with bulb submerged. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 350°F. Working in batches, fry tortillas, occasionally turning with tongs, until crisp, 2-3 minutes. Transfer chips to prepared sheet and season with salt.

Preheat broiler. Toss chips and 1 cup sauce in a large bowl. Transfer half of chips to a large ovenproof platter or skillet. Scatter half of cheeses over chips. Top with remaining chips and cheeses, along with 1/2 cup more sauce. Broil until cheese is golden and melted, 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour oil into a nonstick skillet to lightly coat. Heat over medium heat. Add eggs and fry until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes.

Top chilaquiles with chopped onion, radishes, cilantro, and lime wedges. Top with fried eggs and serve with remaining sauce alongside.

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