Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros stands for Ranch Style Eggs.  This is one of my most favorite meals of all time.  It is spicy, gooey and 100% satisfying.  It makes for a fun, non-traditional breakfast.  But I cook this for dinner all the time.  It is very fast meal, so you can easily make this at the end of a long day and have dinner on your plate in well under 20 minutes.

There are two ways you can prepare this dish.  You can cook a homemade salsa in your skillet, using fresh tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and cilantro- my favorite method.  But if you don't happen to have any of these ingredients onhand, but do have a jar of prepared salsa- use that!  I use this short-cut all the time.  especially in the months when the tomatoes in the grocery store look less then appetizing.  You really want juicy tomatoes.  So if they are too firm in the market or look too pink (you know what I mean), buy a good quality jar of salsa.

The whole basic concept of this recipe is you cook your salsa in a skillet (or heat up the jarred salsa) until simmering.  Then you very carefully slide an egg into holes you create in the salsa and poach them in the sauce until the tops become translucent, but still the yokes are runny.  Serve ontop of a warmed tortilla, top with a touch of cheese- and voila!  So easy, but really a crowd pleaser.

Huevos Rancheros 
serves two

4 eggs
2 tortillas (I prefer flour, but you could very well use corn)
freshly grated cheese (I used a cheddar and a montery jack)
1 Tbsp olive oil

For Ranchero Sauce (if using jarred salsa, skip these ingredients.)
3 large tomatoes, chopped. Do not drain. You want the juice and seeds. or or 1 - 15oz. Can Whole Peeled Tomatoes, undrained
1 yellow onion, chopped into chunks
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed (you can keep the seeds and ribs if you want more of a kick. This is where the majority of the heat is located), diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup cilanto, coarsely chopped (parsely may be substitued if you don't care for cilantro)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Move oven rack into the middle position and preheat oven to 200°F. Place 2 ovenproof plates on rack to warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. One at a time, heat tortillas for about 30 seconds a side, until just starting to bubble. Flip and repeat. Once lightly warmed on both sides transfer to a plate in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortilla. Loosely cover both plates so the tortillas don't dry out.

For the Ranchero Sauce: (if using jarred salsa skip down to the next step)
Over medium heat, add the olive oil to the same skillet you browned your tortillas in.  Add the onions, garlic and jalapenos and sauté until the onions become translucent.  Being careful not to burn your garlic. Add the tomatoes to the pan and simmer until the sauce reduces a bit and begins to thicken, about 10 minutes.   If your tomatoes don't seem juicy enough, add a little water at a time until you get a nice, salsa type consistency.  Once thickened add the cilantro, salt and pepper and combine.

If using jarred salsa, pour the salsa into your skillet and simmer over medium heat until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken.

Now is the fun part!  We are going to "poach" the eggs inside the salsa.  One at a time, make a hole inside the salsa about the size of a half dollar and very carefully break your egg into the hole. Repeat with remaining eggs.

Lightly pepper your eggs and let simmer in the sauce until the white become opaque and the yokes start to glaze over.  If your yokes are taking a little too long to set up, cover briefly, checking on them often.  You totally want a runny yoke for this recipe.  It makes the dish!

Once eggs are set up, remove your plates from the oven and discard foil.  Top each tortilla with a few spoonfulls of your cooked salsa.  Carefully using a large spoon, place two eggs per plate on top of the salsa tortillas.  Spoon a bit more salsa onto the eggs and sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve with Classic Black Beans or Black Beans and Corn on Rice (shown).  Enjoy!

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