This dish turned out way spicier than I planned. Way spicier than I expected. Way spicier than most people are comfortable consuming. Will and I found ourselves gasping for soothing sour cream and eggs and trying to cool our taste buds with ever more water and wine during dinner. We usually pride ourselves, smugly, in thinking that nothing is too spicy for us—ok, there was that Lamb Vindaloo in Cambridge once—so we probably deserved this comeuppance.
I wondered about where I might have gone wrong. Having grown up with my mother’s Korean cooking, western recipes are usually too bland for me, so sometimes I double up on the spices. Alas, no, that didn’t happen this time. I actually followed the recipe, expecting that I might need the hot sauce I brought to the table for supplemental flavor (which neither of us needed).
This is what I finally decided: I think that when Food & Wine (Quick from Scratch One-Dish Meals) called for 2 ½ tablespoons “chili powder,” it was referring to that blended powder that some people use as a shortcut for chili, a spice that mixes salt and garlic and onion power along with chile spices. I long ago gave up using such a mixture and our kitchen only had—only needed—a “pure” chile powder. Ahhhh. I see. In fact, in retrospect, I recall being a bit surprised that the sauce called for so much chile powder in addition to a prodigious amount of paprika and cayenne. Well, follow your instincts in cooking…
With scrambled eggs, sour cream, avocado slices, and lots of other accompaniments, the dish was ultimately quite tasty—though still very spicy. So I’m altering the recipe for this post. It’s also portioned as a dinner for two. If you wish, you can make a double recipe of the sauce (like I did) and reserve half for another use as enchilada sauce for another meal.
Ingredients for 2 large brunches/dinners:
For the sauce:
2 T paprika
1 T pure chile powder
½ t ground cayenne (red pepper)
¼ t ground cumin
½ t sugar
¼ t salt
1 ½ T canola oil
1 ½ T flour
2 minced garlic cloves
1 ½ cup chicken broth
For the rest:
½ T canola oil
4 beaten eggs, with a little salt
4 oz. tortilla chips (thick cut, to withstand the sauce and heating)
1 sliced avocado
¼ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup chopped tomatoes
¼ cup sour cream
1. Make sure to chop up any condiments/toppings you will be using and have them ready to go.
2. Combine the spices, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
3. Heat 1 ½ T oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the flour and whisk a few minutes until light golden in color. Add the minced garlic and then the spices mixture and combine. In a steady stream, add the chicken broth and whisk the mixture until smooth and bubbly. Let cook about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally (and covered otherwise) until the sauce is thickened to the consistency you like.
4. Add tortilla chips to the sauce and let them get coated with the sauce and cook for about 3 minutes. You want to make them a bit soft, but you don’t want them to disintegrate.
5. In a separate non-stick frying pan, add ½ T oil and heat over medium high heat. Beat eggs once more before pouring into pan and then scramble quickly until mostly cooked but still lightly glistening.
6. Place sauced chips onto two dinner plates, place half the eggs on each plate, and pile on the toppings.
You might want to have hot sauce available if you would like. Or, conversely, you might want a lot of beer or wine available in case this is too spicy still!