Tex-Mex style migas are an early morning Austin tradition. Chances are, if you’ve visited the city and partaken in some of their food truck fare early in the morning, you’ve had the Tex-Mex mutation of migas that Austinites, and many across Texas love so much.
You’ve almost certainly had them if you’ve found yourself waking up after experiencing the Austin nightlife and asked one of the locals to point you in the direction of a hangover remedy.
What are Tex-Mex Migas?
I want to start by saying that, contrary to popular fiction, migas weren’t invented in Austin by a bearded guy with a food truck and a $200 pair of skinny jeans.
However, Austinites have embraced migas in a big way and have played a major role in popularizing them across the United States.
Migas were originally a Spanish (or, potentially, Portuguese) dish that made its way to Mexico, then eventually the U.S.
In Spanish, the word ‘migas’ means crumbs, which is at the root of what migas are.
In both Spain and Portugal, migas are made with stale, leftover bread. In Mexico (excluding Mexico City, which has its own unique version), migas are made with stale, leftover corn tortillas.
Mexican migas are, like most great recipes, at their root, peasant food. They were a way to use up stale tortillas leftover from the previous day. They’re similar to chilaquiles in that way, except, instead of salsa being mixed into the tortillas, migas make use of scrambled eggs, and are then topped with salsa rather than having it cooked in.
The Texas version begins with Mexican-style migas, then throws everything but the kitchen sink at it, from sour cream to avocado slices. That kitchen sink also generally includes Cheddar Cheese, a British-style aged cheese (Mexican cheese is typically white).
All of those extra ingredients are definitely not peasant food.
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Texans also like to stuff their migas into additional corn or flour tortillas to make tacos out of them. Traditionally, migas are eaten like you would a plate of scrambled eggs, not as a taco.
Pointing out those contrasts to the traditional is not to say that I don’t like Tex-Mex migas. I do—a lot. What can I say? I’m a Texan. I like Tex-Mex food.
Credit should be given where credit is due. Migas are a traditional Spanish/Mexican dish that have worked their way into the Tex-Mex food scene.
How to Nail Your Migas
First, don’t use store-bought tortilla chips. I know it’s a pain in the butt to fry your own, but store-bought tortilla chips are typically too thin to hold up to the eggs.
They end up getting soggy and turning everything into a textureless pile of mush.
If you absolutely must use store-bought, buy the thickest ones you can find and make sure they’re made entirely of corn, not wheat flour.
Second, don’t throw all of the tortilla chips in at once. Save some to throw in toward the end to add a satisfying crunch to your migas.
Third, if you’re going to make tacos out of your migas, be sure to toast your tortilla wrappers before you cook your migas. Migas should be served right after cooking so that the tortillas that you’ve cooked into the eggs don’t get too soft. You don’t want to delay the party by having to toast tortillas after the migas are ready.
Fourth, yellow corn tortillas are generally more firm than white corn tortillas. I like to use yellow corn in the migas so they hold up better, and white corn for a taco wrapper to make a softer taco. If you don’t want to buy a package of each, go with the yellow corn tortillas.
Finally, there is no right or wrong way to make Tex-Mex migas. In the case of this particular recipe, there are quite a bit of peppers and onions. If you want it to be more “eggy,” either reduce the amount of vegetables or increase the number of eggs.
- 5 stale yellow corn tortillas (stale) - Cut into bite-sized pieces. Plus additional tortillas for heating on a comal and serving as taco wrappers.
- vegetable oil - enough to fill a saute pan or dutch oven to 1"
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion - finely diced
- 1 large poblano pepper - stems and seeds removed, finely diced
- 2 large jalapenos - stems and seeds removed, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 medium roma tomatoes - cored and finely diced
- salsa - (optional)
- shredded cheddar cheese - (optional)
- avocado slices - (optional)
- Mexican sour cream - (optional)
- If you're going to eat your migas as a taco, toast the tortilla wrappers you'll need and set them aside in a tortilla warmer before you start cooking.
- Fill a deep pot with at least 1-inch of vegetable oil. Heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Add all of the sliced tortillas and cook, stirring constantly, until the oil begins to bubble substantially less, and the tortillas turn a nice golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Crack the eggs against a flat surface and dump them into a small bowl. Add about half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Whisk gently with a fork until just combined. They shouldn't be beaten until they're a single color throughout. There should still be bits of white and yolk evident.
- Preheat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and, once melted, add the diced onions, peppers, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until well softened. About 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Reduced heat to medium-low.
- Pour the eggs into the onion and pepper mix and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until they just start coming together. Fold in 3/4 of the tortilla chips and continue cooking until the eggs are almost set. Another 3-4 minutes.
- Add the remaining tortillas and tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, for another 2 minutes. Immediately remove your migas from the pan to a serving dish, so they don't overcook. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Garnish your migas with shredded cheddar, salsa, avocado slices, Mexican sour cream, or anything else you can think of.