Huevos Rancheros

Anita, who blogs at Confessions of a Foodie, says that people are often surprised when she tells them that eggs are her favorite food. She tells us about one of her favorite dishes, Huevos Rancheros, and shares a recipe for her version of this classic dish:

I remember the first time I ordered huevos rancheros at a restaurant. I was so disappointed. The ranchero sauce was bland and was more of a chunky salsa (which is NOT ranchero sauce) and didn’t even have bell peppers. Plus the eggs were fried and the ranchero sauce was just sparingly ladled over the top. Boring.

I grew up on mom’s huevos rancheros. And I thought they were the only way to make them. Her eggs where always so flavorful and her ranchero sauce was rich whether it was used for eggs or her chiles rellenos. What did mom do that was so different but to me seemed perfectly normal? She poached her eggs IN THE SAUCE. Yes, you read that correctly and this makes all the difference in the world. Besides being healthier since you aren’t adding more oil to the dish, it makes the yolks rich and creamy while the whites absorb some of the yummy flavors of the ranchero sauce.

This is my interpretation of my mother’s Huevos Rancheros recipe. It’s basically her recipe with the addition of the poblano which I like as they provide just the slightest heat. If you want even more heat, add thinly sliced jalapeños instead of the poblano. If you caught my Chiles Rellenos post, then you already know how to make ranchero sauce. The sauce is super versatile and once mastered, can be modified for your tastes and used in so many other ways. Try ranchero sauce over skirt steaks or mix in shredded chicken for tacos. Dad will add cilantro to it and uses it to braise short ribs in. Delicious.

YIELD: 2 GENEROUS SERVINGS OR 4 SMALL SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS – FOR THE SAUCE:

• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
• ¼ large brown onion, thinly sliced
• ½ small green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
• ⅓ to ½ small poblano pepper, thinly sliced
• 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
• 1 ½ teaspoons California Chile powder
• 8 ounce can Hunts tomato sauce (see note)
• 8 ounces water, plus more if needed
• 1 ½ teaspoons Knorr’s Chicken Bouillon
• 4 NestFresh Cage Free Eggs, cold
• ½ cup cooked refried beans, warmed and ready to serve
• 4 corn tortillas
• ⅓ cup Queso Fresco, or to taste
• 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, or to taste
• 1 small roma tomato, seeded and chopped

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat olive oil in a well seasoned cast iron skillet or a non-stick skillet until shimmering. Stir in onions and cook for 1 minute. Add bell pepper and poblanos and sauté until vegetables are tender. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, stirring to keep garlic from burning.
2. Stir in the chile powder and cook for no more than 30 to 45 seconds, stirring constantly so as to not burn the chile powder.
3. Pour in the tomato sauce and bouillon; stir well to combine. Add water to the tomato sauce can, swirl to clean off the sides of the can then add to the pan. Bring sauce to a quick boil then turn heat to low to maintain a simmer.
4. For perfectly poached eggs, place a small sieve over a bowl and crack the cold egg into the sieve. The runny white portion of the egg will filter through the sieve leaving behind the thick white liquid and the yolk. Remove the egg to a mug or small bowl. Repeat with remaining eggs, each going into their own small mug or container.
5. Check on sauce. If too much water has evaporated or if it has thickened too much, add more water to thin out. It should be more soupy than gravy-like. Bring the fire up to maintain a good simmer to just barely bubbling (adding the eggs to boiling sauce — or water for that matter — will toughen the whites) and carefully place eggs in equal distance from each other along the outer edge of the pan. Turn heat to low and let the eggs hang out in the sauce, undisturbed, for one full minute. This allows for the white portion of the egg to settle away from the top of the yolks which will keep the yolks from developing the thin white film over it.
6. After a minute to a minute and a half, use a tablespoon to gently pour some ranchero sauce over the whites of the eggs until they set but are still jiggly. Just before they are entirely set, gently spoon the hot sauce over the yolks to set their tops. Total cooking time should stay in the three minute range for soft set whites and runny yolk to five minutes for firm whites and thick to set yolks.
7. Warm tortillas and divide among two plates.
8. Divide the beans between the four tortillas and spread to cover.
9. Carefully place an egg in the center of each tortilla and divide the sauce among the four tortillas, carefully ladling so as to not break the yolks.
10. Garnish with the cheese, cilantro and fresh tomatoes.

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