It’s hard to dislike chilaquiles, a not particularly pretty mishmash of fried corn tortillas bathed in a fiery chile sauce and topped with anything from eggs to cheese to leftover chicken. Colloquially, the term has come to mean “a broken-up old sombrero,” alluding to the bits of broken-up tortillas that are the dish’s defining ingredient.
Special equipment: A 12-inch cast iron skillet is perfect for making chilaquiles, but any large, heavy-bottomed frying pan will do.
What to buy: Look for dried ancho chiles and Cotija cheese in Latin grocery stores and gourmet markets.
Crème fraîche and crema are both types of naturally thickened fresh cream (the French and Mexican versions, respectively) with a tangy flavor and rich texture. If you can’t find either, sour cream is a decent substitute, but you may need to thin it with a little water so that it’s easier to drizzle.
Game plan: Top the chilaquiles with leftover rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or poach your own. To poach, combine 3 skinless chicken thighs, 1 peeled garlic clove, 2 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 10 peppercorns in a medium pot, cover with cold water, and simmer until chicken thighs are cooked through. When the thighs are cool enough to handle, shred the meat.
If you’re sensitive to spiciness, remove the seeds and membranes from the serrano chiles.
This dish was featured as part of our Chile Pepper Recipes photo gallery.