Growing up, my dad built the family a chicken coupe, complete with four rows of tiny individual chicken rooms, and a fancy zig-zagging staircase, so that the chickens could get to their rooms and out the front door whenever they wanted. We didn't eat them, we mostly just collected their eggs and tried to avoid stepping on their poop. We had a rooster named Lucy who was super annoying and woke me up every morning at the crack of dawn, a few ducks, and two geese - who were also really annoying and used to chase me around the back yard trying to bite my ankles. Each summer my parents grew a large vegetable garden with tomatoes, peas, beans, etc., and my grandma would come visit at the end of the summer and pickle the beets, cucumbers and make jam. She would also make us hike into the bush looking for fancy pieces of wood to put in her garden, which I never really understood. My family were modern day hippies. We lived in the country, far away from modern conveniences. I didn't have a lot of friends. I did however have chickens, and they were the best friends a girl could ask for. Each morning, I would put on my red rubber boots - as a preventative measure, and I would go out to the coop and feed them Cheerios, because clearly chickens like Cheerios. I would gather eggs, and my dad would scramble them up, or he would make French toast.
Now for all of you runny egg lovers out there, you should probably just skip to the last paragraph because I'm about to go on a rant. I wouldn't call myself a true lover of eggs. If you scramble them up, so that the white and the yellow mix to be a nice uniform consistency, with cheese, or top those scrambled eggs with hot sauce and queso fresco, sure, I can get behind that. I will basically eat scrambled eggs every day. I also have no reservations about using them in baking, and heck, I've even come around to the idea of quiche. I wont however eat eggs that have been poached, hard/soft boiled, or sunny side up. I can't even look at a
without gagging, which made it really difficult during that period of time, possibly last winter, when it was all the rage, bright green asparagus, pizza, everything that I love, ruined with a big old egg on top. Instead of runny eggs, can we just start putting avocado on everything?
I usually shy away from huevos when I'm eating out, because they're often served with an egg, cooked in a particular way that I don't care for. If there's an option, I'll ask for scrambled, but most of the time I am assaulted with a dirty look, and then I have to remind myself that indeed there is no huevos rancheros god, and I am totally fine eating this dish the way that I like. Last month I went to a super fancy restaurant in Seattle, and ordered a ridiculously expensive dish, and then they put a tiny quail egg, sunny side up, on top. Just because the egg was tiny and cute, does not make it awesome.
I'm sharing with you my version of huevos rancheros, so all of the fried egg haters out there have something to look forward to. I like to make huevos using homemade tortillas, because I like any excuse to impress the people around me. Nothing says awesome like turning your kitchen into a small make-shift Mexican tortilla operation. I have learned over the years, if you want to impress your guests, make anything bread-like, tortillas, naan, rolls, English muffins. It works every time. Also, cheese, avocados, and hot sauce, people also seem to love these foods. Cilantro is a contentious topic though. From what I've gathered, people either think it tastes like soap and accept it, or despise it. Regardless, everyone loves a good huevos rancheros, and if you need to, leave off the cilantro.
The key to making a nice thin authentic Mexican salsa is canned tomatoes. Believe me, at first I shook my head in disbelief, but it really does work. Throwing some cilantro, onions, garlic, and canned tomatoes, along with some cumin if you like, into a food processor and whizzing, adding the tomato juice reserve to thin it out. It's a wonderful consistency, which tastes lovely poured over the huevos. Making your own refried beans is super simple. Again, beans, garlic, and salt into the processor with a bit of water, and then fry them in oil. This is probably one of my favorite breakfast dishes. Healthy, hearty, and delicious.
HUEVOS RANCHEROS RECIPE
makes 8 / serves 4
If you have a
, I encourage you to make homemade corn tortillas. In my opinion, they really complete this dish. To make homemade corn tortillas, add 2/3 cup of water and a pinch of salt to 1 cup of corn masa flour. Knead until the dough comes together. Divide into 8 balls, and then press each flat in between plastic wrap in the press. Fry for 40 seconds on each side in a a cast iron frying pan. Keep them soft in a
until you are ready to serve. I like to provide a variety of hot sauces for the huevos, to add a little kick. Tapatío, Cholula, and Tabasco are my favorites. You can always make this recipe with a fried egg, rather than scrambled if you prefer.
1 - 28 oz can of whole tomatoes + juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
hot sauce, jalapeño, serrano, or chipotle peppers for spice
1 - 15 oz can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 small shallot, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and diced
1/3 cup of water
1 tbsp oil for frying
salt to taste
8 eggs, scrambled
8 small corn tortillas
3 oz queso fresco
garnishes - avocado, cilantro, limes, hot sauce
Drain the juice from the whole tomatoes, and set to the side. Add the tomatoes, 2 diced garlic cloves, 1/4 diced onion, the juice from 2 limes, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1 tbsp chopped cilantro to a food processor. Begin to pulse the ingredients. Slowly add the reserved tomato juice, until you have a desired consistency. I prefer my salsa on the liquid side, therefore I add at least half of the juice. Remove from the processor, and store in a plastic tub until ready to use. Makes roughly 2 cups.
Add the rinsed pinto beans, one small diced shallot, and one diced garlic clove to a food processor. Turn on the processor and begin to puree the beans. Slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup of water until the beans are a thin consistency similar to apple sauce. You may need to add more or less water to achieve this. Even if the beans appear really thin, they will thicken up during frying. Add the oil to a frying pan, and heat on low. Add the beans, and fry for 10 minutes, or until they begin to thicken. Add salt to taste. Do not turn the heat up too high, or the beans will bubble and make a mess. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Just before you are ready to plate the huevos, in a large frying pan, scramble the eggs with a tsp of butter. Warm the tortillas.
To assemble the huevos, smear a 1/4 cup of refried beans onto each warm tortilla. Top with scrambled eggs, drizzle the salsa on top, and then sprinkle with queso fresco. Serve with sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, and limes for squeezing. I also like to provide a variety of hot sauces for extra spice. The salsa and refried beans can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.