Huevos Rancheros – Tasty Mexican breakfast
Huevos Ranchero (farm-style eggs) is a classical Mexican late breakfast/lunch, which, after having spread to the West, now appears in a myriad of combinations. I try to stay away from the degenerate Western versions (where sugared canned beans often are allowed to flourish and stand out as the main ingredient in the dish) and present what I believe to be the original Huevos Ranchero.
This is not extremely time-consuming, but it takes some time to make this dish, that’s why it’s great for Saturday or Sunday breakfast (or whenever you have your day off). Huevos Ranchero consists of corn tortillas and fried eggs with salsa. “Optional” accessories can be re-fried beans, but actually, if I dare say so, the re-fried beans are not optional, but a necessity.
Optional accessories can be avocado, sliced, fried potatoes and extra chili pepper. According to Wikipedia this dish can also be served with scrambled eggs instead of sunny side eggs, but to me that sounds like a proposal which has originated in the mind of a person locked up for life in the insane asylum. If you serve it with scrambled eggs (instead of sunny side) you won’t be able to wipe the egg leftovers from the plate with a piece of tortilla at the end of the meal.
The first thing to do is to prepare the beans (Frijoles refritos). It may sound like re-fried beans are fried several times, but this misconception comes from an incorrect translation from Frijoles Refritos, which actually means something like “well fried beans”, in English, that would probably translate better into something in the line of “bean stew”, and here is the point where many of the perverted, western versions fail: by using canned beans in syrup instead of dried beans. They say that people are different, but me personally, I prefer my perversions other places than the kitchen (or at least with other ingredients), which is why I use dried beans soaked over night in water when I make Frijoles Refritos.
The amount of beans is up to you to decide, but a cup should be enough for two people. I used a type called Rosecoco as this is a type of Pinto beans (pinto beans, pinto Frijol – which translated means painted beans – a name it has because of the blotchy skin. If you can’t get hold of pinto beans, you can use regular brown beans. Soak them overnight in a bowl with plenty of water.
- 1 cup beans
- 1 cup chicken broth
Next morning, boil the beans in water (make sure it’s fresh water – not the same water that they’ve just spent the night in. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense: why wouldn’t the beans want to start the day in fresh water? After all you like to start your day with a shower and fresh clothes don’t you? So don’t patronize the beans.)
Boil them until they are soft. Cooking time depends on the size of the beans, the type of beans and how old the beans are – the older the beans, the longer they’ll have to boil to become soft. Cooking time can vary from anywhere between 1 – 4 hours. Mine took around 2 hours. As the beans approach the end of their cooking time, it’s time for you to do the remaining preparations.
- 1 roasted red pepper (paprika) . Grill it/roast it on high heat in the oven until the skin is black, then let it cool down in a plastic bag so that the skin is easy to peel off. If you’re cooking with gas you can just roast it on the open flame.
- 1-2 tomatoes
- 1 green chilli
- a small handful of coriander leaves (I learned from watching cooking programs that coriander goes by the name cilantro in the US)
- the juice from 1 lime (and to all you Israeli bartenders out there: No! Lime & lemon is NOT the same: you can’t make a Mojito and substitute the lime with lemon and pretend like it’s the same drink.)
- 1/2 onion
- S&P (salt and pepper)
Run all the ingredients in a blender – pour it in a small saucepan and boil for a few minutes over medium heat. If you like your salsa less watery: drain it through a sieve, this way you’ll get rid of some water (you can save it for later and add it to a soup stock).
Make fresh, gluten-free corn tortillas – it’s very easy.
The following will give you about 8 corn tortillas.
Gluten-free corn tortillas:
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used corn oil, but normally I use peanut oil)
- 1/4 cup water (approximately)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons corn flour
- 1/2 cup milk (approximately)
- 1/4 cup corn starch
Mix the ingredients into a smooth batter (add milk/water/corn flour if needed). Heat a little oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan. Pour a little bit of batter in the pan, spread it around and form a thin crepe. Fry it.
When it’s done, before you pour the next one to the pan, remember to stir the batter so that the corn flour doesn’t sit on the bottom. Dilute the batter with a drop of water or milk if it is too thick.The return of the Frijoles Refritos / re-fried beans:
Let the water run off the beans, then fry them in a hot, oiled frying pan. Mash the beans with a potato masher (or a fork/underside of a spoon) and dilute them with chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you want a vegetarian option) until you get a thick paste. This is Frijoles refritos.The last thing you do before you assemble the dish is to fry eggs.
1-2 eggs per person. As you already know I prefer sunny side eggs (fried eggs with whole yolk), but I encourage you to follow your own taste buds. Poached eggs would certainly be heavenly (I think I’ll try that next time).
Once the eggs are ready, it’s time to serve. Place a corn tortilla on the plate, then a layer of frijoles refritos covered by an egg and topped off with salsa.
I have also heard rumors about people who sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top of this, but I’ve never seen it.
I served mine with mango salad. Delicious!
Enjoy your Mexican breakfast – Huevos Ranchero.