Monday, April 4, 2011

Bleak Night Huevos Rancheros

When things get a bit desperate and the end of winter seems well out of sight, a flexible recipe for Huevos Rancheros makes surviving worth it.  A few beers don’t hurt either.

Huevos Rancheros are essentially nachos with an egg on top.  Within the basic layers lots of variation is possible making this one of those dishes that you can pull out of a hat.  The first time I ate this was in the Yucatan at a little restaurant inside the entrance to some Mayan ruins.  Our hotel had a nice restaurant but my friends and I learned quickly to hop the local VW bus (without a side door) to the ruins and eat desayuno with the workers.   The meal was simple and that’s been my inspiration since: eggs, cooked beans, salsa on a corn tortilla with a side of fried plaintains.  For this northern version, I substituted roasted turnip fries for plaintains.   Home fries made with white or blue potatoes are good here too.

Its all in the layers:
Base- corn tortilla (grilled pizza crust, even tortilla chips if desperate)
Beans- canned black low sodium cooked down with some oregano, cumin, salt, ground coriander
Salsa (purchased is fine but take a peak in your larder and get creative here)  chopped tomato, mild peppers, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, smoked chili, onion, tomatillos can combine in many variations in a pinch to create a tempting salsa.
Fried eggs (poached if you feel like it)
Cheese (cheddar, queso fresco)
Garnishes; extra salsa. Scallions, black olives, jalepenos (pickled roasted), sour cream, cilantro, avocado

If you’d like a more formal recipe….

Huevos Rancheros Fonda del Yucatan
Serves 2
Ingredients
4 corn tortillas
Canola or vegetable oil
1 can low-sodium black beans
2 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, cumin, chipotle chili powder
1/4 teaspoon each ground coriander and salt
1/2 cup salsa (home made or store bought)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
Garnishes and extras: sliced scallions, black olives, jalepenos (pickled or roasted), sour cream, cilantro, avocado

Method
  1. For each serving, drizzle a little canola oil onto an oven proof dish (pie plates work well) and dip 2 corn tortillas in oil on both sides.  Place in a 400˚F oven to crisp while you prepare the remaining ingredients.  
  2. Heat up a can of low-sodium black beans (no need to drain) and add cilantro, dried spices and salt.  Lower heat and continue to cook until juices are absorbed, stirring occasionally.  
  3. Once beans are heated, fry eggs in a little olive oil.  Cook eggs “sunny side up” and remove from heat when whites are firm but yolks are still runny.  
  4. While eggs are frying, assemble dishes.  Remove tortillas from oven and pile on beans followed by a bit of salsa then carefully transfer the eggs, one on each tortilla.  Sprinkle with cheese and return to hot oven to finish eggs and melt cheese.  
  5. As soon as cheese has melted, remove pie plates from oven and transfer to warmed plates.  Place another spoonful of salsa on top of each egg and add garnishes to your liking.   

On the side—roasted turnip fries with smoked paprika (400˚F for 20 minutes).  You can dip them in ketchup but here they taste great dipped in the runny egg yolks and the sour cream.  They are nice cross between sweet potato fries and traditional fries from white potatoes and can be roasted while the tortillas crisp.

I found this fun rendition online.  Great idea to serve a crowd:
http://www.designeatplay.com/?p=482
Huevos Ranchero Pizza- very clever and communal too.