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Chilaquiles close-up


Course Breakfast
Keyword Cayenne Pepper
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Calories 946kcal


For the salsa roja

  • 1 pound red cherry tomatoes left whole. Do make sure they really are ripe – then the skins will soften wonderfully.
  • 4 red cayenne peppers stalks removed and slit open lengthways to expose the seeds. (Don’t scrape out the seeds.)
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and slightly crushed
  • 1 yellow onion medium-sized, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • 1 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 heaped teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice approximately the juice from one lime

For the refried beans

  • 4 ounces smoked Canadian bacon aka streaky bacon, finely diced
  • 2 yellow onions medium-sized, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 can black beans 14-ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can borlotti beans 14-ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground black pepper

For the tortillas

  • 4 corn tortillas 7-inch size
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

The queso - in this case feta cheese

  • 150 grams crumbly feta cheese drained — I used the easily crumbled sort that comes in ‘fingers’.

The crema - sour cream

  • 1 cup full fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice

The essential extras

  • 2 avocados halved – one half per person
  • 2 fresh limes cut into 8 wedges – 2 wedges per person
  • 1/2 ounce fresh cilantro enough to garnish each plate
  • 8 poached eggs nicely soft, two eggs per person


Prepping the crema

  • Apparently, Mexican crema is a little thinner than the sort of soured cream you might usually buy. I thinned mine down by mixing it really well with a little whole milk - so that it could just be poured. For me, some lime juice lifts the soured savour.

Cooking the salsa roja

  • In a shallow baking dish, the plan is to roast the salsa’s ingredients together on a high shelf in a pre-heated 400F/200C oven for 20 minutes. So, add all the ingredients to your dish and give them a good stir to coat the tomatoes, onion, and cayennes with the oil, salt and pepper.
  • After ten minutes’ roasting, give everything a turning stir and return to the oven. After its final ten minutes, turn the oven down to 120F/50C. Remove your dish and let its contents cool a bit before tipping the whole lot into a processor and zapping it smooth. Add the lime juice, check the salt, and add more if needed. Keep it warm in a bowl in the cooling oven.

Drying the tortillas

  • Place the tortillas evenly spread on a rack in the cooling oven. You want them to just start curling at the edges. So, they’re going to sit there gently drying – but checked on a couple of times so they don’t crisp at all - while you make the refried beans.

Cooking the beans

  • In a big skillet (I used a deep, 9-inch one), fry the diced bacon on a medium heat in a tablespoon olive oil to give it some fat-melting color. Don’t let the bacon crisp too much. Rather cook it gently with a few stirs for about 5 minutes. You want its fat to mix nicely with the olive oil. Good.
  • Now add the onions and garlic. Continue frying on that medium heat for another 7 minutes or so, until the onions soften and begin to barely take on a little colour - barely.
  • Add the beans, mix everything together really well and drop the heat to low-medium. Continue to cook with the odd thorough stir until the beans just start to catch on the bottom of the skillet, and they start to very slightly crisp. That’ll take maybe 10 minutes. The beans should be pretty dry – apparently, the Mexican term ‘refrito’ beans doesn’t so much mean refried but rather ‘well fried’ beans.
  • Remove from the heat and roughly mash the beans with a potato masher and season with salt and pepper. Don’t mash into a puree, you want to keep this pretty chunky. Done. Empty the beans into an oven-proof bowl and set them to keep warm in that low oven.
  • Wipe the skillet clean and set it on a high heat with four tablespoons of olive oil. That’s where the tortillas are heading when it’s good and hot.

Finishing the tortillas

  • Cut the dry-ish tortillas into strips 1-1/2 inches wide. Now take some special care in how you flash fry the strips. So, add them to the skillet in batches so they cook in a single layer. Fry the strips for no more than 90 seconds each side – you want them to get a good, light golden colour in that hot oil. Drain each batch on kitchen towel. Good, nearly finished.

Poaching the eggs

  • I always use an egg poacher because it’s so much easier than poaching them in a pan of gently simmering water.
  • Bear in mind that, in terms of timing, you want the eggs to be ready as soon as you start plating our chilaquiles. And it’s time for that right now.

Bringing it all together – plating and serving

  • Pour off the olive oil from the skillet. (I keep it in in a little bowl for another day’s cooking.) Set the skillet back on a medium low heat and add the salsa roja. As soon as it starts to bubble, turn off the heat and add all the fried tortilla strips. It’ll be a crowded skillet, so gently coat all the strips with the salsa.
  • Cover each diner’s plate with a serving of tortilla and salsa. Now pour over a few flowing stripes of the crema, and crumble on some feta.
  • Arrange the beans in a nice curve around one half of each plate’s edge. Add the avocado and lime wedges to the opposite side.
  • Then add two poached eggs to each plate’s centre. Done! And well done, too. You’ve just made Mexico’s national breakfast.


Pinto beans would be authentically ideal, but for my shopping convenience I substituted a mix of black beans and borlotti beans. Result? Muy bueno!
To drink? Good, strong black coffee goes down really well with our chilaquiles. Alternatively, depending on how high the sun has risen, I’d go for a well-chilled beer – a Sol or a Corona would surely fit the bill.


Calories: 946kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 418mg | Sodium: 2178mg | Potassium: 1748mg | Fiber: 24g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1692IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 399mg | Iron: 7mg