Chilaquiles, a popular Mexican dish with a robust filling nestled between two crisp corn tortillas, all smothered in chile sauce, are Mexican soul food to me. Often eaten for breakfast, these are a spicy morning wake up that leaves a big smile on my face. This particular version is made with a tofu and pinto bean scramble, smothered in fire-roasted tomato chile sauce, and topped with pine nuts. Sine I don’t like to wake up and immediately make breakfast, I usually make the components the night before or I just eat them for lunch.
The Tomato-Chile Sauce
3 guajillo chiles, rehydrated
4 Roma tomatoes, pan roasted
8 cloves of garlic, pan roasted
1/2 cup of the rehydrating water
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 pound of extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons of mojo de ajo or olive oil
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of Indian black salt or sea salt
1 1/2 cups of cooked, rinsed pinto beans
1 poblano, pan roasted and cut into strips
Corn oil for frying
Minced white onion, rinsed
Important Time Saving Tip: Start the chiles rehydrating, then start pan roasting the veggies. While these are cooking, make the filling. That way, your filling, pan roasted veggies, and chiles should be done about the same time.
Start the water boiling to rehydrate the chiles (you need enough water in your pan to cover the chiles.) Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles. Simmer the chiles for about 15 minutes. Set them aside, in the water.
“Guajillo chiles are my go-to chile when making sauces, especially ones with roasted tomatoes. Its toasted caramel flavor makes and excellent sauce base.”
While the chiles are simmering, pan roast the tomatoes, garlic, and poblano by placing them in a dry pan over medium heat. This works best in an iron skillet. Once the sides have blistered, rotate them until most of the sides are done. For the garlic, you just need the outside curve to be heavily browned. Remove everything from the pan and set them aside.
“Pan roasting is an excellent way to develop deep char and caramel flavors.”
To make the filling, crumble the tofu and mix it with the mojo de ajo (or olive oil), turmeric, and salt. Stir in the pinto beans. Warm this in a pan over medium heat, gently stirring it, for about 6 to 8 minutes. Take the pan-roasted poblano and remove the stem, seeds, and blistered skin. Chop the poblano into bite-size strips and stir this into the filling.
“This is a pretty typical breakfast scramble, with the addition of the pinto beans. What makes it pop out is the roasted poblano pieces and the mojo de ajo. It’s that little extra kick that takes it from good to great.”
Puree all the ingredients for the sauce. Transfer it to a wide, shallow bowl (wide enough to hold a tortilla.)
“You expected something here?”
Fried Method for Tortillas: Heat a wok or small sauce pan with about 1/2″ of corn oil. Bring it to 375°F. Once it is hot, slide a tortilla into it. Wait for the tortilla to turn golden brown, then remove it and set it aside on a paper towel. Repeat this with the remaining tortillas.
Baked Method for Tortillas: Turn your oven to 375°F and lay the tortillas directly on the oven rack well away from the heating element. The tortillas will toast in 8 to 10 minutes.
Totally Lazy Easiest Method for Tortillas: Serve them as is and don’t worry about warming them up.
“The fried method is the more flavorful, decadent way to make the chilaquiles, but my personal favorite is baked. Not only is it healthier, but nothing interferes with the pure roasted tomato chile flavor from the sauce.”
To assemble the chilaquiles, dip a tortilla in the chile sauce and let it stay submerged for about 10 seconds. Place it on the plate, then top it with filling. Place another tortilla on top and smother it with at least 1/4 cup of sauce. Top this with the white onion and pine nuts. Repeat this until you are out of tortillas, and serve.
“Rinsing the onions is important because it gets rid of the harsh compounds that develop on the outside of a cut onion.”
Frying or Baking Equipment