Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancheros are usually served as a breakfast food, but let's face it, these marvels can be eaten any time of the day and go pretty well with either coffee or beer. Everytime I cook this recipe I do something different, sometimes because I have to improvise an ingredient that I'm missing and others because I'm feeling like I want something extra spicy or fresh, so I would add fresh chilies and a ton more veggies. Nevertheless, this recipe consists of a base plus a couple of extra ingredients, you will notice an "optional" next to some ingredients, this means that you can either skip it or substitute it. 

I also like to cook everything separately, I cook the sauce in one pan and fry the eggs in a different one. I find that cooking the eggs in the sauce takes more time and it can be tricky to get the eggs to cook evenly and have the right consistency, plus, I prefer the idea of having an "egg-free" sauce in case there is some left. 

Now for serving, please try to use corn tortillas, do not use those tasteless flour tortillas, this is not a burrito! Corn tortillas bring all the flavours together and give this dish its authenticity. You can now get corn tortillas pretty easily, Cool Chile definitely makes the best ones in London. You can buy them online or get their products at Whole Foods and other food markets. If finding corn tortillas is too much of a hassle, use bread instead, a fresh baguette or a toasted sourdough will do the job. Ok, now that you have the right tortillas, let's start cooking!

This recipe makes 4 servings with a generous amount of sauce, here is what you need:

  • 4 ripped vine tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pepper, finely chopped (any kind you can get hold on to is fine)
  • 1 fresh chili, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika (I'm using smoked, but regular paprika is fine) 
  • 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano, 2 tsp if using fresh (regular oregano is also good)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 150ml / 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • 1 tbsp chipotle ketchup (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1 small dry bay leaf 
  • Corn tortillas (2 to 3 per person)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (2 for cooking the eggs, 1 for the sauce)

Note: This recipe cooks pretty fast, have all the ingredients ready to go before you start. 

Cut the tomatoes in half and shred them using a grater's large holes side. Discard the tomato skins. 

Heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the onions, peppers, chilies, cumin, black pepper, paprika and dried oregano, mix well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the onion is cooked and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Now add the shredded tomatoes, water, tomato purée, chipotle ketchup, coriander, salt and a pinch of sugar. Mix well and add the bay leaf. Simmer over a medium to low heat for about 7 minutes, stirring once in a while. Taste the sauce and add more salt if necessary. If the sauce is too acidic, add another pinch of sugar. Remove from the heat and cover while you prepare the tortillas and the eggs. 

To warm the tortillas, simply place them over a hot pan or grill for a couple of minutes on each side. You can add butter or oil to the pan/grill, but is not really necessary. Once warm, wrap them up in a clean tea towel. 

Heat the leftover olive oil over a high heat, until is slightly smoking. Crack open one egg at a time over the hot oil, tilt the pan and using a spoon, drizzle some of the oil over the eggs. 

Remove the bay leaf from the sauce before serving. I like to spoon some sauce over a tortilla and top it up with the fried egg. Avocados, fresh cheese, sour cream, lime, Tabasco sauce or Sriracha sauce are all good accompaniments to this dish. Buen provecho!