Huevos Rancheros

I have a mild obsession lately with the idea of breakfast for dinner. I realized in my quest to find quick, easy dinners to prepare after getting home from work that I was neglecting to recognize the humble egg. Eggs are incredibly versatile, but for some reason, they often get filed away under the notion they are only good for scrambled eggs on a lazy weekend morning. While they are delicious on the weekend, there is so much more you can be using them for! My recent vegetarian breakfast braid being a prime example. Or the incredibly comforting recipe I will share with you today.

The experimentation with huevos rancheros began after my husband and I met another couple for brunch at an outstanding local restaurant. I immediately zeroed in on the huevos rancheros description on the menu boasting bold flavors like caramelized onions and specialty sharp cheddar cheese. While my expectations were extremely high, I was quite disappointed in the overall flavor of their interpretation. Over the next several days my mind would wander to how I could keep the tortilla on the bottom crispy instead of soggy, how the dish could be more colorful, and whether those caramelized onions were really necessary anyway. Eventually the time came to execute my plan…this version blew me away in not only flavor, but also the different textures and temperatures that make huevos rancheros a comfort food staple. This recipe gave me a nerdy sense of pride because I made something that tasted better than a restaurant!

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. cilantro (I used parsley instead)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 3 scallions, plus additional scallions for garnish
  • 1 tortilla per person
  • olive oil spray
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 eggs per person
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  •  1/2 c. sour cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

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In a small food processor combine diced  tomatoes (with juice), cilantro or parsley (I wish I liked cilantro), garlic clove, and the white/light green portion of the scallions. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

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Blend in the food processor…congratulations, you just made homemade salsa! At this point you can keep the salsa cold, or warm it on the stove until the rest of the components are ready. I chose to warm mine on the stove so it would be the same temperature of the eggs/beans and the flavor would concentrate.

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Next, place your tortillas on a baking sheet and lightly spray them with olive oil cooking spray on both sides. Place them in the oven, checking on them often, until they are golden brown and crispy.

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This will take approximately 10-15 minutes. I pulled them slightly shy of burning on the edges, whew!

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While tortillas are baking, place the canned beans (with their liquid) into a large pan and season with chili powder, cumin, and salt/pepper. Begin mashing the beans with the back of a wooden spoon to release their starches; this will help to thicken the liquid to make homemade refried beans. (I suppose you could buy pre-made refried beans, but where is the fun in that??)

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Simmer beans over medium heat and continue to mash with spoon periodically.

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Time for the eggs; warm a small pan over medium heat. Spray pan with olive oil cooking spray and add cracked egg. Season with salt/pepper.

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Wait until the white of the egg firms up then flip using a spatula.I admit this is the photo-ready egg; there were several more that looked less symmetrical but tasted just as delicious. Cook until the egg yolk is firm, but gives slightly to the touch. I like fried eggs slightly runny; the luscious yolk will combine with the other ingredients to create a sauce. Repeat process until all eggs are cooked.

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Slice an avocado in half and tap on the pit with your knife (carefully!) to remove it. Score the avocado in the shell to make slices and then scoop into a bowl.

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Sprinkle with juice from 1/2 a lime. We are ready for assembly!

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The crispy tortilla is the first layer on your plate. Spread a generous layer of the refried beans leaving a slight margin around the edges.

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Next, add two fried eggs on top of the beans. Look at that cascade of egg yolk…top with a couple spoonfuls of salsa.

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Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, add a dollop of sour cream, sliced scallions, and an extra squeeze of lime juice. Arrange slices of avocado to the side; goodness this looks delicious! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. I highly recommend spreading the sour cream/salsa mixture over all the ingredients and breaking the tortilla into slices (like a pizza). So many textures and flavors to love about huevos rancheros; it will definitely be in heavy dinner rotation this winter. Enjoy!

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