As Authentic as it Gets

November 28, 2011

Here at the MHK, we love to find simple recipes that don’t take much time to prepare, but are extremely delicious nonetheless. Today’s recipe isn’t necessarily simple, and needs a bit of time to make, but the end result is a truly amazing dish. It’s hard to believe there is a Rick Bayless recipe that we hadn’t made, but we found one. We posted another recipe for chilaquiles a while ago, but that recipe is more like a Mexican lasagna than authentic chilaquiles, which is a traditional Mexican breakfast dish (but they’re great for any meal). Bayless’ recipe uses guajillo peppers, which are dried Mirasol peppers – both are widely used in Mexican cooking; they have a mild flavor and are used primarily in sauces. By toasting them and then rehydrating them, the smokiness of the flavor comes out nicely. Chances are you can find these in your area (we found them in Albanyof all places). Mexican crema may also be readily available in your area, but we thinned out some sour cream with a little water and it was great. We skipped the step about straining the sauce before cooking it and it turned out fine (but using a good food processor helps). The egg is a critical component – the runny yolk imparts great texture to the dish. Next time we will add some heat to the dish; it definitely would benefit from some spicy addition. This is comfort food at its finest. We served it with some watermelon for a complete meal. Enjoy!

Rick Bayless’ Guajillo Chilaquiles

(serves 2 as a full meal or 4 as a side dish)

8 medium (2 ounces total) dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces

15 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted), drained

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

2 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil

3 cups chicken broth

½ teaspoon sugar

1 tsp.salt

8 oz. corn tortilla chips

4 eggs

½ an onion, thinly sliced

About 1/3 cup Mexican crema (or sour cream thinned out with a little milk)

½ cup grated Mexican queso añejo or other dry grating cheese, such as Romano or Parmesan

Toast the guajillo pieces a few at a time in a dry heavy skillet or on a griddle heated over medium, pressing them flat against the hot surface with a metal spatula until they are aromatic, about 15 seconds per side. In a bowl, rehydrate the chiles for 20 minutes in hot tap water; keep the chiles submerged. Use a pair of tongs to transfer the rehydrated chiles to a food processor or blender. Measure in 1 cup of water; add the tomatoes and garlic and process to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl, if desired. Heat 1½ tablespoons of the oil in a medium (4- to 5-quart) pot or Dutch oven or a large (12-inch) deep skillet over medium-high heat—you’ll need a lid for whichever vessel you choose. When hot, add the chile puree and stir until nearly constantly until reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about 7 minutes.  Add the broth, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Season with sugar and salt. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the eggs and cook on one side just until set, sunny-side up. Raise the heat under the seasoned sauce to medium-high. Stir in the chips, coating all of them well. Let return to a rolling boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for no more than 4-5 minutes. Uncover the pot and check that the chips have softened nicely—they should be a little chewy, definitely not mushy. Spoon onto plates; drizzle with the crema (or thinned out sour cream), strew with the sliced onion and dust generously with the cheese. Top each portion with an egg and serve right away. Eat!


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