You've probably seen this dish discreetly placed at the bottom of the menu at your favorite Mexican restaurant. However, faced with the dazzling array of choices and because you were already very happy from the margaritas, you haven't given it much thought. Who chooses a simple egg dish when you can have tacos al carbon? I do, now. Please forgive me, huevos rancheros, for not trying you sooner. I'll try to make it up to you.
I only decided to try this dish because I had leftover corn tortillas, a small amount of chorizo, eggs, and nothing else to make for breakfast one lazy Sunday. I'm glad we didn't go out for brunch. The humble ingredients of this dish belie the end result--it is truly much more than the sum of its parts.
Of course, my recipe strays from tradition because I used canned tomatoes to make my salsa, and because I added chorizo. Traditional or not, it was damn delicious.
I began by making my favorite fast salsa: a can of diced tomatoes (Muir Glen fire roasted are perfect), onion, garlic, fresh jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, salt & pepper, quickly whizzed in a blender to just the right texture. Then I put this salsa in a small nonstick pan in which I had browned a small amount of spicy, locally-made chorizo. Once the salsa simmered, I cracked a couple of eggs into it and let them poach in the salsa.
I heated up the leftover tortillas, wrapped in foil, in the toaster oven while I waited for the eggs to poach. And waited, and waited some more. But the end result was well worth the wait. For those who don't eat meat, this would be fine without the chorizo.
Darcie's Inauthentic But Tasty Huevos Rancheros
1/4 pound of Mexican chorizo (not Spanish chorizo, which has a firmer texture) (optional)
1 (14 oz.) canned diced tomatoes
1/2 small onion, cut into chunks (about 1/4 cup)
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1/2 to 1 jalapeno, roughly chopped (remove inner membrane & seeds for less heat)
1 small bundle cilantro, to taste (I used about 1/4 cup loosely packed)
Juice of one lime
salt and pepper to taste
4 corn tortillas, warmed
Brown chorizo in a small pan (you can use a skillet or a saucepan, nonstick works better). Warm corn tortillas, wrapped in foil, in a 250 degree oven. Put a couple plates in there, too, so they will also be warm. But be careful, because 250 degrees makes for a pretty hot plate. (Alternately, you can zap the tortillas in the microwave--sans foil, of course--for a few seconds just before serving, and use room temperature plates. I won't tell anyone.) If chorizo is browned before salsa is ready, remove pan from heat until you add the salsa.
While chorizo is browning, place tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Pulse until the onions and garlic are broken down into small bits, but it's okay to leave a few chunks if you like. (You can use more jalapeno if you like. Or more cilantro. Or less. You get my point.)
Add salt and pepper to taste; pour into pan with browned chorizo. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Crack eggs into the simmering salsa. (Everyone tells you to crack the eggs into a bowl, then carefully scoop into the poaching liquid with a ladle. This is excellent advice that I never follow, because I don't cry over a broken yolk. But feel free to follow this method, especially if you like doing dishes.)
Cover, and cook until eggs are done to your liking (about 6 to 8 minutes, maybe more). Peek at the eggs about every couple of minutes, and turn down heat if the salsa is spattering too much. (How much is too much? I trust that, as with porn, you will know it when you see it. Like it if squirts you in the eye. Wait, do not equate that last statement with the porn reference. Eewww.)
Place 2 corn tortillas onto a warmed plate. Gently remove 2 eggs from the pan, placing on top of tortillas. Spoon salsa around eggs. Repeat with remaining tortillas, eggs and salsa. Eat!