It looks like Cinco de Mayo (as well as the 133rd Kentucky Derby!) is e upon us, so I thought that something with a little bit of south-of-the-border flare seemed to be an appropriate gesture towards the holiday. I could have made an intense Mexican Chocolate Loaf Cake, but I opted for Huevos Rancheros instead.
The name huevos rancheros means “ranch-style eggs” and the dish is a fairly simple, but hearty one, of crisped corn tortillas topped with fried eggs, ranchero sauce and sometimes a few slices of avocado. It is usually served as breakfast, but it is so satisfying – not to mention easy to prepare – that it makes a great dinner option, as well.
My huevos rancheros were delicious, if I do say so myself. They were spicy, thanks to the jalapeno pepper and cayenne in the ranchero sauce, but not overly so, which means that you don’t have to gulp down your morning oj in two mouthfuls to keep your tongue intact. In fact, I could eat an entire batch of the sauce, it was so tasty. It’s not traditional enchilada sauce, but I would consider trying it with enchiladas and other dishes just for more excuses to make it. I crisped the corn tortillas by spritzing them with cooking spray (you could also brush them with canola oil) and baking them in a preheated oven, directly on the rack. The method worked beautifully and was much healthier than actually frying them.
The sauce recipe makes enough for six servings, but you can keep it in the fridge for a day or two if you aren’t planning to eat that much at one time. Just reheat it and you’ll be ready for rancheros in no time.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp jalapeno pepper, minced (reduce if you like less heat)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 16-ounce can stewed tomatoes in juice, diced
2 tbsp cilantro, minced
6 corn tortillas
6 large eggs
salt and pepper
1 avocado, sliced
In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook about 5 minutes, until tender. Add jalapeno and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the cumin, salt and cayenne, stir well, and cook for an additional minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until thickened, about 15 minutes. Add cilantro before serving.
While the sauce is cooking, spray corn tortillas on both sides with cooking spray. Bake in a 350F oven for 5-8 minutes, until slightly crisp. Place on a wire rack to cool while eggs are cooking, or keep warm in a turned-off oven.
Fry eggs in large frying pan, lightly greased with cooking spray or a bit of butter. Season with salt and pepper, frying to desired doneness. Place each fried egg on top of a crisp tortilla, then top with a generous scoop of ranchero sauce and a few slices of avocado. Serve immediately.