Guajillo Chilaquiles

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

Suggested Use:
A mildly hot chile. Use in sauces, salsa, soups and your favorite chile. A little goes a long way.

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8 medium (2 oz total) dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded, and torn into flat pieces
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted), drained
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil (divided)
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp sugar
8 oz (8 to 12 loosely packed cups, depending on thickness) thick homemade-style corn tortilla chips (such as the ones you buy at a Mexican grocery)
4 eggs
1 small onion, thinly sliced
About 1/3 cup Mexican cream, creme fraiche or store-bought sour cream thinned out with a little milk
1/2 cup grated Mexican queso anejo or other dry grating cheese, such as Romano or Parmesan


Toast the chile pieces a few at a time in a dry heavy skillet or on a griddle heated over medium, pressing them flat against the hot surface with a metal spatula until they are aromatic, about 19 seconds per side. In a bowl, rehydrate the chiles for 20 minutes in hot tap water to cover place a small place on the top to keep the chiles submerged.

Use a pair of tongs to transfer the rehydrated chiles to a food processor or blender. Measure in 1 cup of water, add the tomatoes and garlic and process to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium (4- to 5-quart) pot or Dutch oven or a large (12-inch) deep skillet over medium-high heat—you’ll need a lid for whichever vessel you choose. When hot, add the chile puree and stir until nearly constantly until reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about 7 minutes. Add the broth, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Season with sugar and salt, usually about 1 scant teaspoon. You should have about a generous 4 cups of brothy sauce.

Just before finishing the chilaquiles, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the eggs and cook on one side just until set, sunny-side up.

Raise the heat under the seasoned sauce to medium-high. Stir in the chips, coating all of them well. Let return to a rolling boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes (no longer).

Uncover the pot and check that the chips have softened nicely—they should be a little chewy, definitely not mushy. Spoon onto warm plates. Drizzle with the crema (or its stand-in), strew with the sliced onion and dust generously with the cheese. Transfer an egg to each portion and serve right away.

Serves 4.

Recipe by Rick Bayless