A reader recently wrote on our Facebook wall, wondering if we had a recipe for huevos rancheros. During all of our time in Mexico, I don’t think I ever actually had a plate of the classic breakfast dish, made with tortillas and salsa. Now that I think about it, in fact, the only place I have eaten huevos rancheros is in California’s Highland Park neighborhood, an area where the hipsters and their beloved dive bars seem to be just starting to outnumber the actual Latin American immigrants that have lived there since the 1960s. Whether this means that it is a less-than-authentic dish, not frequently found in Mexico outside of all-inclusive resort hotels, or whether it exists only in that very specific segment of Mexican food found in Los Angeles, I’m not sure. I do know that it is a dish that, handled incorrectly and made with lots of sub-par ingredients, can be pretty depressing. Without a bit of care, it’s too easy to end up with an old tortilla floating in a bowl of room temperature salsa. Take your time to make it right, though, and you’ll be the Hero of Brunch.
The secret to an excellent huevos rancheros is to make as many of the ingredients as possible from scratch. Make your tortillas and start on the salsa the day before you actually want to serve this breakfast, and you’ll find it can come together in just a few minutes. You can either make the refried beans yourself (we provide links below to all of the other recipes you’ll need for a truly “from-scratch” version of this dish), or if you’re pressed for time, there’s no shame in popping open a can of refried beans, thinning them with a little water, and stirring in your sauteed fresh Mexican chorizo. Serve it for brunch with a crisp, refreshing chelada, and you’ve got quite a Sunday ahead of you.
Huevos Rancheros with Chorizo Refried Beans
- 2 cups refried beans (or one can)
- 4 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo
- 8 corn tortillas
- 2 cups Salsa Ranchera (recipe follows)
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- 8 eggs
- 1 cup pepper Jack cheese, grated
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons cotija or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup Mexican crema, or regular sour cream thinned with milk
- In a small saucepan, heat refried beans, thinned with a little water, until bubbly and hot. In a small frying pan, cook crumbled chorizo until crisp, and drain on paper towels. Add to refried beans, stir to combine, cover, and set aside. In another saucepan, warm salsa.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees, and warm the plates you plan to use for serving in the oven. Cover bottom of a medium frying pan with vegetable oil bring to 340 degrees over medium heat. Working one at a time, quickly fry each tortilla, about two seconds per side. Drain tortillas on paper towels, place two tortillas on each plate, and put back in the oven to keep warm.
- Fry two eggs at a time in butter until cooked over-easy, with soft yolks. Keep finished eggs warm in oven as you continue cooking.
- To assemble: On each plate, place a tablespoon of warm salsa on each tortilla. Top with fried eggs. Top eggs with another spoonful of salsa. Add refried beans to side of plate. Top eggs and beans with a few sprinkles of shredded Jack cheese, then scallions, then cotija (or Parmesan), followed by a sprinkle of cilantro, and a drizzle of the crema. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 cups; Adapted from a recipe in Sunset
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
- 1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 serrano chiles, toasted in a dry skillet until charred, stemmed, and chopped
- A few shakes of Mexican hot sauce, such as Cholula brand
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine oil and onions. Cook until onions begin to soften, about four minutes. Meanwhile, put tomatoes, garlic, and chiles in bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth but still slightly chunky.
- Pour tomato mixture into pot with onions can cook over high heat for five minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. Adjust spiciness of salsa by adding hot sauce, as needed.