New Mexican Breakfast:
Huevos Rancheros with Green Chile Sauce
By Susan Farewell
I will never forget the first time I had Huevos Rancheros. I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, having just started out as a travel writer. I remember thinking "How will I ever eat all of this?" when the dish was brought to my table. Moments later, after my first fork-full, I started to feel like a deprived northeasterner having grown up on bland fried eggs.
So good was the breakfast that I never even attempted to make it back home. I just assumed there were special secret ingredients I'd never know about and hence, only disappoint myself. So the only times I would eat it was when I was in the southwest.
Fast-forward to today and I've come across a recipe that takes me back to that first time. It's easy to make and the taste...well, let's just say I'm making sure I've always got a can of black beans, corn tortillas and fresh cilantro in my kitchen.
This recipe comes from a new cookbook, Cuisine St. Bernard: Recipes and Reflections from the Incomparable Mountain Inn, co-authored by Jean Mayer, the owner of the St. Bernard Hotel in Taos. Mayer, a Frenchman, arrived in Taos over 50 years ago with a passion for skiing and a dream to create a sanctuary for like-minded ski lovers. With his family, he built the hotel with sturdy log construction, mirroring the European Alpine traditions. It continues on today, a small family-run hotel full of warmth, elegance and...French-inspired cuisine. The book is co-authored by Marie-Pierre Moine, a cookbook writer, and is available to order online at cuisinestbernard.com.
Make this on a weekend morning, when you can settle in and just feel happy about breakfast. You can prepare the sauce ahead of time; it keeps for several days.
This Mexican dish is just as good if you make it with scrambled eggs. What matters is the combination of soft egg, tortilla, beans and chile salsa.
Preparation and cooking 20-30 minutes
4-6 tablespoons butter for frying
1/2 16 oz (400g) can black beans, drained, rinsed and drained
4 small corn tortillas
4 free range eggs
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
Green chile sauce, gently heated (see following recipe)
2 roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons shredded butter lettuce
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1. In a saucepan on low medium heat, melt a tablespoon butter, add the beans, cook gently until hot, stirring now and then. Keep hot.
2. Melt tablespoon butter in a skillet on medium high heat. Fry the tortillas and place on warmed plates (you might need to add butter between tortillas). Keep warm.
3. In the same skillet, add a tablespoon butter. Crack the eggs into the skillet, cook for 3 to 4 minutes for runny yolks, a little longer if you prefer them firmer. Season lightly.
4. To serve, spoon the beans on the tortillas, add the eggs, spoon over some green chile sauce. Top with grated cheese, diced tomato, shredded lettuce and chopped cilantro.
Green Chile Sauce
Makes 3 cups
Preparation and cooking 11/2 hours
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (175g) chopped fire-roasted mild green chile
1 cup (175g) chopped fire-roasted hot green chile
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium onion, diced
4 tablespoons dried oregano
pinch ground cumin
The New Mexican cook’s little helper; this is a very good sauce to have on hand in the kitchen.
1. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan on low–to-medium heat. Stir in the chiles, garlic, and onion. Cook for about 40 minutes until softened, stirring from time to time.
2. Stir in the oregano and cumin. Take off the heat and leave to get cold, stirring a few times to mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate – the sauce will keep for several days.
Both recipes and photos were reprinted with permission from Cuisine St. Bernard by Jean Mayer and Marie-Pierre Moine, © 2012, cuisinestbernard.com.