Well, it’s about time! It’s been six weeks since I got back from my month of endless tacos and margaritas in Austin, Texas. Full credit goes to Ali for coming up with the idea to head south with our pups for the coldest month of the year, and I’m so glad we did.
We drove down separately with our dogs as our co-pilots and our trunks rattling with kitchen supplies. I caught up with her on I-35 near Oklahoma City and flailed my arm out the window with a stupid grin on my face. After a few months of talking about going to Austin for a month, we were doing it!
Ali got there first, then I showed up and popped a bottle of Champagne, which we poured over ice like thirsty ladies do. We’re both independent, single introverts who are accustomed to living alone, so I think we were both mildly apprehensive about sharing a roof for a whole month.
Fortunately, Ali is a great roommate and our only heated discussions revolved around food. Ali is the salsa queen (don’t bring jarred salsa into her house!) and she was surprised to hear me wax poetic about ketchup. It’s true, I love ketchup, but don’t get me started on baby carrots. Ali insists on lemon in her water and unabashedly adores frozen margaritas. I rank tortilla chips based on their air-pocket-to-flat-surface ratio. This is the stuff we learned about each other during fourteen happy hour sessions together.
I kept going on to Ali and Jeanine about how I just don’t get migas. Tex-Mex migas are Austin’s version of scrambled eggs with peppers and tortilla chips folded in. Every time I ordered them, though, the chips had already melted into the eggs by the time they arrived. Their crunch had disappeared, leaving behind extra grease, salt and only whisper of corn chips flavor.
On the morning I left Austin, however, I stopped at my favorite taco truck and decided to give their migas taco a shot. I waited forever for those tacos, long enough for a hipster construction worker to propose to me (only in Austin). I finally joined Cookie in my car and opened up my bag of tacos. The migas taco was freshly made with super crispy strips of corn tortillas. I took a bite and all of a sudden, migas made perfect sense.
It’s about time I shared my perfected homemade migas with you. I make my migas with fresh, oven-baked tortilla strips that retain their crispness without adding a greasy undertone to the dish. I serve my migas with peppery black beans, which are integral to the recipe below because you’ll sauté all the onions and peppers together, then reserve half of the mixture to add to your eggs. This recipe would be perfect for a small brunch or dinner for two to four. They’re best served right away; reheated leftovers are pretty good but the chips lose their precious crispness along the way.
I’m also finally sharing a public list of my favorite Austin restaurants that several of you have requested by email. (I’m so jealous of your Austin trips!) I tried to include it at the bottom of this post, but the formatting got too complicated. Check out my short list below and view my full list here. Don’t miss Ali’s extensive guide to ALL the restaurants we visited in Austin here, with a Google map and everything!
TOP 6 AUSTIN FAVORITES
Veracruz All Natural: This taco truck (three locations) offers super fresh tacos, like the migas taco that inspired this recipe. I highly recommend ordering a pineapple agua fresca (they’re huge, you can share!) and probably some queso to go with those glorious tacos.
La Condesa: This modern Mexican restaurant made almost every category in my list! I absolutely love the colorful atmosphere. Their food is fresh and inventive (love the apple-serrano salsa and guacamole sampler), the cocktails are killer and they offer $2 mimosas and bloody marys during weekend brunch hours. Yes.
The Peached Tortilla: Creative Southern food with an Asian spin in a colorful, well-designed space up north. Ali and I went with Jack and Jeanine and ordered about half the menu, family style, but our checks were surprisingly reasonable.
East Side King: These food trucks (five locations) offer inventive Asian fare at affordable prices. They’re owned by chef Paul Qui (you might have seen him on Top Chef) and conveniently located near hip bars so you can drink while you eat. Get some beet fries and the Brussels sprouts and rice dish!
Weather Up: Our go-to bar near East 6th St. It has a lovely indoor atmosphere and a big patio in the back. If you go, tell our favorite bartender, Floyd, that Cookie and Kate sent you. Seriously, everyone tell him that and then tell me so I can giggle about it in Kansas City. Bonus: parking is easy to find.
The Continental Club: Super classic Austin dive bar and music venue on Congress Street. They almost always have a band playing. Check out their more chill bar upstairs, too.
- 4 small corn tortillas
- 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 poblano pepper or 1 additional bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, drained
- 3 tablespoons water
- Squeeze of lime juice or splash of sherry vinegar
- 8 eggs
- 3 tablespoons cream or milk of choice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar cheese
- Chopped cilantro
- Salsa and/or hot sauce of choice
- More tortillas, warmed (optional)
- Diced avocado (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper while you're at it. Scramble 8 eggs with 3 tablespoons cream/milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Set the eggs aside for later.
- Slice 4 tortillas into short, thin strips (see photos). Transfer the strips to your prepared baking sheet, then toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil until lightly and evenly coated. Arrange them in a single layer and sprinkle with salt. Bake until crispy, flipping halfway, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the pepper-and-onion mixture. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic and a dash of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are turning translucent and the peppers are tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer half of the mixture to a bowl for later and return the pot to heat.
- To the pot, add 1 teaspoon ground cumin and sauté until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Add the drained black beans and 3 tablespoons water. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until you're ready to serve.
- Once you have your crispy tortilla strips and reserved pepper mixture ready, you can scramble the eggs. In a 10-inch non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet, warm 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Swirl the pan so it's evenly coated with oil. Add the peppers from your bowl to the skillet, then whisk your egg mixture one last time and pour it into the skillet.
- Scramble the eggs by pushing the mixture around and 'round and 'round until they're about three-fourths set. Fold in the crispy tortilla strips and cheese and continue cooking until the eggs are scrambled to your liking. Remove from heat.
- Remove the beans from heat. Use a fork to mash up about half the beans, then stir in a squeeze of lime or splash of vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide migas and black beans into individual serving bowls/plates. Top with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro. Serve with salsa, warmed tortillas (optional) and diced avocado (optional) on the side.
Make it gluten free: Use 100% corn, certified gluten-free tortillas.
Make it dairy free: Use an unsweetened non-dairy milk in place of cream. Skip the cheese and top your migas with avocado for extra richness.
Make it tomato free: Choose a tomato-free salsa or hot sauce. Bam.