Morning Migas

James Beard Award-Winning Chef Cheryl Alters Jamison looks back at her life and shares recipes that tell her story. 

“When I made a trip to Santa Fe in 1977, the guy my friends and I were visiting whipped up breakfast,” Alters Jamison explained. “It was more Tex than New Mex, a sensational scramble of eggs with chiles, cheese, and tortilla chips, my introduction to migas. Eventually, I married the cook. Once we got our own flock of chickens, migas began to show up on the menu most weekends.”

(Excerpted from Cheryl Alters Jamison’s article for TABLE Magazine, My Life in Five Dishes. Read her wonderful story…and, of course, try the recipes!)

Morning Migas Recipe

Serves 4-6


9 large eggs
3 tbsp water, milk, or cream
Salt to taste
1 small red-ripe plum tomato
1 fresh New Mexican green chile or poblano chile
2 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
1 fresh jalapeño chile
1 small onion, cut into very thin half-moons
About 2½ dozen tortilla chips, broken into bite-size pieces
6-8 oz mild cheddar cheese, grated
2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro, optional
Extra whole tortilla chips, diced red-ripe tomato, grated mild cheddar cheese, cilantro sprigs, or sour cream, optional


  1. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and add the water and salt. Whisk just long enough to combine. You should still see large bubbles. Set aside.
  2. Roast the tomato, green chile, and jalapeño. Either hold each on a fork directly over the flame of a gas burner or place them on a baking sheet under the broiler until browned all over and blackened in spots. The tomato skins, in particular, will probably split a bit.
  3. Place the green chile and jalapeño in a plastic bag to steam as they cool. When cool enough to handle, finely chop the tomato and its charred skin. Strip the peel off the green chile and jalapeño, or as much as comes off easily. Slice the chiles open and remove their seeds and, if you wish, the veins that run lengthwise (which cuts the heat a bit). Slice the green chile into thin strips and mince the jalapeño.
  4. Warm the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until limp, then stir in the tomato, chiles, and their juices and heat through. If they give off enough liquid to make the mixture watery, cook briefly until most of the liquid evaporates.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low then pour in the egg mixture and stir up from the bottom of the skillet as it cooks to your desired doneness. About a minute before the eggs are done, add the chips, stirring them in well. Remove the eggs from the heat, and stir in the cheese and cilantro if desired.
  6. The dish is popular because it tastes great, not because the jumble of ingredients looks beautiful. Dress the migas with one or more of the garnishes to enhance the visual appeal if you like then serve immediately.

Recipe and Story by Cheryl Alters Jamison / Styling by Merrie O’Donnell and Keith Recker / Photography by Dave Bryce

Make all five recipes from Cheryl Alters Jamison’s Life in 5 Dishes at Home

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Wilted Lettuce Salad

Chile Rellenos

Morning Migas

Apple Pie

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