Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Chorizo Chilaquiles

The debate goes on (and on) about the differences between chilaquiles and migas. Many restaurants use the terms interchangeably on their menus, so diners end up eating chilaquiles called migas and migas called chilaquiles. Of course, there are as many opinions as there are debaters, and since both dishes are delicious, I’m not sure how much any of it matters.

That said, here’s what I’ve concluded in general: Chilaquiles is a Mexican dish, migas is Tex-Mex. Basic chilaquiles needs only fried corn tortillas cooked in sauce and topped with cheese (think cooked nachos). Migas includes fried tortillas, salsa, and cheese too, but the must-have ingredient is eggs. Without eggs, it’s not migas. For chilaquiles, the sauce (red or green) is cooked early on, with the fried tortillas stirred into it. For migas, the sauce (or salsa) is usually added toward the end, or simply dolloped on top at the finish. Both dishes are commonly served with extra ingredients, especially meats, poultry, or beans. Bottom line: Yes, they’re similar; no, they’re not the same; yes, it’s all good.

For this recipe, I added chorizo to the basic tortillas, sauce, and cheese. It’s a one-pan dinner—just make sure that one pan is oven safe (preferably cast-iron). You want to take it from the stovetop to the oven for a few minutes in order to melt the cheese and give it that beautiful browned top for a scrumptious—and pretty—finish.

Interested in migas too? Check out Tex-Mex Migas for Two.

Serves 2-3

  • 1-1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno chile, finely chopped,
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil, divided
  • 1/2 lb Mexican chorizo
  • 3 5-inch corn tortillas, cut into 2-1/2-inch strips
  • sea salt
  • 3/4 cup shredded queso quesadilla (or other mild, white cheese)
  • chopped cilantro, for serving

Sauce Ingredients 
Chorizo, Cheese, and Tortilla Strips
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, jalapeno, garlic, onion, and lime juice in a small food processor and chop until thin and chunky-smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat a 10-inch, cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the chorizo and cook, breaking up the sausage, until just cooked through, 6-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chorizo to a bowl.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanut oil. Add the tortilla strips and fry until golden and lightly crisp, 3-4 minutes, turning as needed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tortilla strips to layers of paper towels.

Processed Sauce 
Chorizo Beginning to Cook
Cooked Chorizo
Tortilla Strips Beginning to Fry 
Fried Tortilla Strips
  1. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the skillet and add the tomato mixture. Season with salt and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced and thickened, 9-10 minutes.
  2. Add the cooked chorizo and tortilla strips, stirring gently to combine. Scatter the cheese on top and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the cheese is melted and slightly browned, 10 minutes.

Sauce Beginning to Cook 
Cooked Sauce
Chorizo and Tortilla Strips Stirred In 
Baked Chilaquiles with Cilantro
To serve, stack a few potholders in the middle of the table and set the skillet on top. Garnish with cilantro and the chilaquiles are ready to share.

Chorizo Chilaquiles

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