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Huevos Rancheros for the Gourmet
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An egg dish you'll want to serve for dinner.
It's always a risky proposition ordering huevos rancheros at restaurants. I've had some that made my tummy smile for hours, and I've had some that made me want to cry -- while reaching for the Pepto Bismol. If you love huevos rancheros, as I do, and want a classy twist on a southwest favorite, try these. I'm proud to say they're my own creation, inspired by the best versions I've had while dining out. They're a little bit of work, but well worth the effort. You won't find better.
Ingredients (one serving)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 small avocado, wedged
- 1/4 cup fresh ripe tomato, chopped
- >1/4 cup black olives, sliced
- >1/4 cup pepperjack or cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 multigrain artisan tortilla (small)
- 1/4 tsp. cumin, dried, ground
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne (red) pepper, dried, ground
- To taste himalayan sea salt
- To taste black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 tbsp. milk
- 2 tbsp. bacon fat
- 1/2 cup refried beans, canned or home-made
Get ready to juggle!
- Heat bacon fat in a large cast-iron skillet on medium. You may substitute lard, crisco, or vegetable oil if you prefer -- but the bacon fat adds a unique nuance that the others can't match.
- When skillet is hot, add your tortilla. I recommend Mission brand artisan multigrain tortilla (the soft ones, not pre-fried). Cook to brown on each side. Tortilla should be lightly crisped. Set aside, covering to stay warm.
- Keeping skillet at same temperature, add refried beans. Immediately add milk and stir until creamy in consistency. Add cumin, cayenne pepper, and sea salt. Stir well. Cook until bean mix is at your preferred consistency -- either creamy, or with a slight darker-brown crust on the edges.
- Spread bean mix on tortilla. Immediately distribute grated cheese on top so it will melt from the heat of the bean mix. Again, cover to retain heat.
- Using the same skillet at the same temperature again, scramble the eggs until fluffy. You don't need to clean or scrape your skillet before adding the eggs. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
- Layer eggs on top of your tortilla base.
- Arrange tomato, avocado, and black olives in an appealing manner on top of the eggs. Use these brightly-colored ingredients for that appetizing eye-appeal -- evenly distribute the tomatoes, then line up avocado wedges in a row in the center. Distribute black olives evenly on either side.
- Add freshly ground black pepper and a dash more salt (if you like salt as I like salt!)
- Serve with a good cup of coffee!
Adjust for individual preferences.
This recipe is adaptable to your individual tastes. Adjust portions accordingly. The secrets to this dish is that all-important addition of milk to your beans; the spices (don't skip them!); and the freshness of your ingredients.
You can add green chilies if you wish, but I suggest trying it as is first. It is spicy without being overpowering. If serving guests, place a couple of small, brightly-colored peppers (jalapeños are a good choice) on the dish beside the rancheros. This will make for an attractive presentation and will offer a taste of hot peppers to those who choose to indulge in them.
Texture is an important element of this particular recipe. Don't try cheating by not browning your tortilla to that light crispness level; when you serve this dish, the tortilla should be easily cut with a fork edge, but should not be limp or greasy.
Don't hesitate to ask questions if any of these ingredients or techniques are new to you. If you love egg dishes and are looking for something new, you will enjoy trying this one. It's spicy but won't have anyone calling 9-1-1 and asking for the fire department.
If you try it -- please let me know what you think!
Have you ever had huevos rancheros?
Copyright 2013 by MJ Miller
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