Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Papaquiles (the imaginary friend of chilaquiles). © Ryan Schierling
Disclaimer: The name chilaquiles comes from the Nahuatl word chil-a-quilitl, which means "herbs or greens in chile broth. "Papaquiles" is not actually a word. We made it up. That's alright, though, because this concoction bears only a passing resemblance to one of our other favorite breakfast dishes. You guessed it... chilaquiles.

Since our very first introduction to this Mexican breakfast, we've been huge fans. Fried tortillas all sauced up in red or green salsa, with sour cream or fresh crema, a little diced onion and the glorious yellow of yolks spilling from fried eggs – what's not to adore?

One weekend morning about four years ago, after we had been making chilaquiles at home for a few months, I woke up wanting all those delicious flavors. Except, I was in the mood for hash browns... and why not instead of totopos? Barely into my first cup of coffee, I articulated this to Ryan and within the hour he had created a breakfast dish that met my craving with wild success.

It's ridiculously simple, actually. Hash browns cooked to perfection with nice crispy edges, a big spoonful of salsa verde, a dollop of cool sour cream, chopped white onions for their brightness and crunch, and crowned with an over-easy egg. Finish this with a drift of your favorite hot sauce and your day is at once off to a fantastically rich and savory start.

We don't play favorites between roja and verde versions of chilaquiles, but with hash browns the salsa verde has been our mainstay and the best fit in terms of consistency and flavor. While we're still running all over Austin exploring the plethora of amazing chilaquiles at local taquerias, for breakfast at home "papaquiles" remains one of our very favorites.

Where did the name come from? Well, we actually started out calling these "ghettoquiles." A term of endearment, I assure you, as this recipe was born of a time we lived in a charming little complex that looked a lot like Melrose Place, but was considerably less swanky. We affectionately referred to our home as "Ghetto Melrose" and every so often a food item would receive a similar moniker. But this dish deserved a name a little more descriptive and a bit less personal. "Chilaquiles con papas" comes close, but it isn't quite accurate, either. We entertained ourselves with plenty of options, but the name that quickly stuck was papaquiles.

The step-by-step. © Ryan Schierling

1 30-ounce bag of frozen hash browns
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups salsa verde
6 tablespoons sour cream
6 tablespoons diced white onion, rinsed in colander under cold water
6 eggs
hot sauce

In a large skillet, cook the hash browns in a bit of oil over medium-high heat until crispy and golden brown. Turn off heat under the hash browns, and in a separate skillet or griddle, begin cooking your eggs. Our preference is over-easy. When the eggs are almost finished, plate your hash browns (about 5 oz., or 1/6 of the bag, is a nice serving size). Top with 1/4 cup of salsa verde, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of the diced onion. Place an egg on top, add a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce and dig in.

Serves 6
(Occasionally misspelled as Papaquilas)

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great dish to wake up to! The plastic fork really gives it that authentic look:) This might also make a good late evening snack topped off with a cold ginger beer.


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