Breakfast for Supper - Migas!

| July 29, 2010 | 0 Comments

“Migas in the morning, migas in the evening, migas at suppertime. Be my little miga and love me all the time.” 

Miga - Spanish for crumb. Be my little “crumb”? Miga as a term of endearment? Why not? ¡Venido a mí, mi miga pequeña!  

A perfect weekend morning in Texas would begin at your favorite Tex-Mex café, waiting in line for a table to enjoy some migas, a soul-satisfying scramble of corn tortillas, onions, chiles, cheese and eggs. Every restaurant and cook has their own version. Tomatoes and avocados are often included. 

Austin, Texas is the self-proclaimed Migas Capitol of the Southwest and is certainly deserving of that smug claim. I have warm memories of lingering over a brunch of migas and aguas frescas or ice-cold cervezas with dear friends in Austin, and I depend on them to lead me to the best table in town. 

Though not as Tex-Mex trendy as Austin, Fort Worth can hold its own with a sizable share of Tex-Mex cocinas. Leading the pack would have to be Joe T. Garcia’s on the north side near the stockyards. I have early memories of having to walk through the kitchen to get to the larger dining room. There were only a handful of tables in the small store-front dining room, and the kitchen was situated between that and the larger room. 

As you proceeded past the vintage commercial range, one of the cooks would be patiently stirring refried beans in what was the largest cast-iron skillet I have ever seen. The food was simple there; no menu, just great home cooking. The nachos were simple too, a corn tortilla with a splattering of cheese and jalapeño peppers, nothing else. The refried beans were a masterpiece. I never took a strong liking to refried beans until I tasted Joe T. Garcia’s.  

On the south side of town, Benito’s held its own but not with Tex-Mex. Maria, the co-owner and chef, hailed from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico and served some of the best regional home-style cooking from northern Mexico. As a matter of fact, just under the name Benito’s was the phrase “Comidas Caseras” or home-cooked meals. 

As stated earlier, Migas is  Spanish for crumbs. Torn or cut corn tortilla strips are the “crumbs” here. If you’re including other items on your menu, have all your ingredients ready because you’ll cook this last. 

Adapted from memories of great migas and a refresher on technique from HomesickTexan 

Migas with Fresh Salsa


Serves 4 

  1. 8 fresh large eggs
  2. Oil or butter for frying tortillas and sautéeing onions and peppers
  3. 3-4 corn tortillas, cut in half and then into strips
  4. 1 cup (240 ml.) onion, chopped
  5. 1 cup (240 ml.) chopped tomato (I do this only when great tomatoes are in season)
  6. 3 fresh jalapeño peppers, minced*
  7. 1 pickled jalapeño pepper, minced* (Sometimes pickled carrots are in the mix and I’ll use those too)
  8. ½-1 cup (120-240 ml.) cheese, grated - cheddar,  pepper-jack or just jack cheese
  9. 1 cup (240 ml.) cilantro, roughly chopped
  10. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  11. Butter (optional)

* If you’re cooking for guests, get a feel for their comfort for chile heat. The pickled jalapeños and carrots could be left on the side. Fresh jalapeños are rarely searingly hot, but if someone is delicate, I will cut the chiles in larger pieces so they can eat around them. 

I defer to Julia Child regarding mixing eggs and cream or milk for scrambling or making omelets. We just mix in a sufficient pat of butter at the end. 

  • Break the eggs in a bowl and lightly whisk with a fork.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan large enough to hold all your ingredients.
  • Add the tortilla strips and distribute evenly and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Turn and continue cooking the other side until the strips are beginning to crisp.
  • Add the onions and chiles and continue sautéeing until onions soften.
  • Add the eggs, lower the temperature and let them begin to set for a minute or so.
  • Using a wooden spoon, begin pulling the eggs from the edge of the pan to the center.
  • Watch the texture of the eggs carefully; you don’t want dry, over-cooked eggs.
  • When the eggs are mostly set, add the cheese and cilantro.
  • Remove to a platter or plate before the eggs are completely cooked; they will continue on their own for a moment or two.
  • Add a generous pat of butter, if you wish.
  • Garnish with more cilantro and some fruit, if you like.

Serve with fresh salsa. 

Fresh Salsa
Adapted from a recipe on a can of Muir Glen tomatoes 

I use canned tomatoes much of the year as Oregon’s tomato season is very short, and everyone knows how disappointing winter tomatoes can be. 

  1. 2 14.5 ounce (almost 1 kg, total) cans of Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chiles (if fresh tomatoes are in season for you, by all means use them)
  2. 1 medium red onion, chopped
  3. 2-3 scallions, chopped
  4. 2-3 fresh jalapeño or serrano chiles
  5. A generous handful of chopped cilantro
  6. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) oil ( I use olive oil)
  8. 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml.) fresh lime juice
  • Mix first seven ingredients together in a bowl and taste for seasoning. Add lime juice to taste.

Easy Refried Beans 

  1. 2 14.5 ounce (almost 1 kg, total) cans of Ranch Style Beans®, drained, reserving the liquid.
  2. ¼-½ small onion, diced
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. Oil
  5. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) bacon drippings*

* My mother always kept bacon drippings for seasoning other foods. I don’t cook nearly as much bacon as I grew up with, but when we do, I always strain the fat and store it in the refrigerator. A small amount, such as a teaspoon (5ml.), will supply a big bang of flavor without a lot of animal fat. Traditionally, you would begin this recipe with several slices of bacon to render their fat. 

  • Heat the oil and bacon drippings in a heavy saucepan.
  • Sauté the onion for several minutes until it begins to soften and become translucent.
  • Add the garlic and stir for a minute.
  • Add the beans and begin mashing with a potato masher.
  • Keep stirring and mashing until the beans become pasty and thick, adding liquid from the can as needed.
  • Continue doing this until you are satisfied with the texture and moisture of the beans.

Keep warm until serving time. 

¡Buen provecho! 

— Charles


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Category: Brunch/Breakfast, Eggs

About the Author (Author Profile)

Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities

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