This past Spring I attended one of my closest friend’s wedding in Cottonwood, Arizona. In fact, I was a bridesmaid. (No, I did not wear a ruffled chiffon bridesmaid dress–but totally would have if asked to do so.) During my stay I ate huevos rancheros for breakfast every single morning. It was, and is, that ridiculously good. I’m a little behind in the travelogue department, but I thought I would share my recreation of what could possibly be one of the best breakfast foods ever.
A preface: I lived in Tucson, Arizona for a full decade before moving to Boston, Massachusetts. I know my way around a taco. As amazing as New England might be in many aspects, Mexican food is simply not one of them. And as legit as that place in Backbay might seem… I promise until one travels to the Grand Canyon State (or California, New Mexico and/or, God forbid, Texas) one will never, truly understand what authentic Mexican food tastes like. I know it sounds like arrogance, but it’s just fact.
I recently made the huge mistake of ordering huevos rancheros in Concord, Mass a few weeks ago and it was just so very sad. Did I really think I was going to be served the same soft buttery pliable warm home-made sleepingbag-sized tortilla folded up perfectly along side a runny egg elegantly dripping over beans and crispy fried corn tortilla (yes, two types of tortillas) replete with a bowl of red and green enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes, greasy melted cheese, perfectly ripened avocado, lime juice and a pinch of salt? Here’s the thing, adding a side of beans onto a plate of eggs ≠ huevos rancheros.
Here’s my take on this delicious dish
You will need:
- corn tortillas
- pinto beans (or black beans)
- enchilada sauce
- sour cream
- shredded cheese
- canola oil
This is not a quick meal by the way–but the end result is worth it.
My first order of business is to pan fry the tortillas in canola oil. (You only need to fill the pan around 1/4 inch deep, enough to cover the tortilla.) I let them get just a little brown and then place them on a paper towel. Add salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime.
In a sauce pan combine enchilada sauce (Trader Joe’s has one that works perfectly), pinto beans and corn. Leave on low-medium heat.
Potatoes are key to successful huevos rancheros. I dice yukon golds and place into my cast iron skillet. I then add chopped onion and olive oil and sauté until the onions are clear and then transfer the pan into an oven preheated to 400°F. (Stir occasionally, add salt/pepper and olive oil as needed.)
Personally, I prefer runny eggs for this dish, so my recommendation is to prepare eggs sunny-side up or poached. Once the eggs are ready it’s time to assemble the huevos into rancheros. In a rectangle baking dish I start with a tortilla, add potatoes, stack a tortilla on top, add the beans plus an egg, stack another tortilla and top with the sauce and bean mixture. Finally, add the shredded cheese of your choosing.
Pop into the oven long enough for the cheese to become completely melted. Plate each tortilla stack and add another egg, sour cream and avocado. Garnish with a sprinkling of chili powder and/or some freshly chopped cilantro.
Honestly one portion of this recipe would be plenty for two people–I’ve struggled to finish my plate of huevos rancheros many times.