Yes, the bold flavor of Chilaquiles is delicious—tangy salsa meets chips, which meets eggs, and oh the chips get just the right amount of soggy from the salsa—like, really delicious. But the dish is also a transportation device. It turns the vivid memories of shadowy shapes cooking in dawn light into something real, or embodies them in the spirit of the food. The scents of the frying salsa and the egg overwhelm the air and tell the rising nose that something satisfying is in store.
This is a sensory experience that countless generations of people across Mexico and the southern United States have experienced in different ways. The dish likely dates at least as far back as the 16th or 17th century, and there's an iconic variation in almost every region of the country. The base flavors of salsa and chips are perfectly suited to modification based upon ones dietary restrictions, local ingredients, and favored tastes.
When you have to make the salsa, toppings, and totopos (fried tortillas) from scratch, it may seem like a complex dish. But in Mexico, with these ingredients typically on hand, it's a classic brunch dish that's both humble, easy to prepare, and bold in flavor. Try making a bigger batch of salsa and holding onto it for multiple uses.
Our recipe is a paleo-friendly variation that uses a salsa verde, swaps out the totopos for Siete Foods Grain Free Sea Salt Tortilla Chips, and tops the dish with a fried egg, pulled achiote-spice chicken, and pomegranate. The addition of the pomegranate helps bring a clean acidic flavor that balances out the increased richness from the chicken and egg.
Paleo-Friendly Chilaquiles Verde
1hr (45 minute prep, 15 minutes active)
- 8 medium-sized tomatillos, husks and stems removed
- 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, but with seeds
- 1/2 white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Salt to taste
- Add the tomatillos, serrano chiles, onion, and garlic to a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the tomatillos have turned pale green.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. Blend (should yield 4-6 cups of salsa).
- 4 chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp achiote paste
- 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp coriander
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Combine seasoning, mix together until a paste is formed, and rub on chicken breasts. The chicken breasts should look roughly like they do in the above picture. Marinade chicken in the achiote seasoning for at least 15 minutes.
- Cover baking sheet in parchment and bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Let rest until cool enough to touch, then pull apart (two forks works well).
- 1 bag Siete Foods sea salt tortilla chips
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 lime
- The arils of one pomegranate
- Handful of cilantro
- Simmer salsa verde in 1 tbsp avocado oil on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until reduced and thickened.
- Crack an egg into the salsa verde and quickly whip the mix with a fork (or other aerating utensil) so as to bind the egg to the salsa and create a cohesive mixture. Turn off heat.
- Add half of the bag of chips and mix into the salsa verde to coat. Top with the other half of the bag and pulled chicken.
- Heat 1 tbsp avocado oil over medium-high heat, wait until the oil is shimmering, then fry and egg until the whites have set, but the yolk is still runny. Top the Chilaquiles with the fried egg and garnish with cilantro, pomegranate, and lime.