Monday, 13 August 2012

Huevos Rancheros

Guess what I had to do this weekend? A fitting for a bridal dress. Not MY bridal dress (clearly), someone has actually chosen me as her Maid of Honour, ha! People actually like me! But it is exciting and I love a reason to dress up, so I'm pretty happy about that. I'll be sure to put up my mini-sandwich recipe when it comes time for the shower, because everyone loves a triangle sandwich. 

What a lovely dinner!
So what did I want to eat for dinner the night before the fitting? A huge bowl of shrimp Alfredo pasta, of course! But I didn’t. I exercised restraint (read: I had no satisfactorily delicious pasta in the house, only healthy brown rice pasta, and that’s no fun at all!) and instead thought perhaps I ought to make something with a vegetable. I made fish tacos the other night for dinner, so I had a lot of southwestern flavours in my fridge, including chipotles. Chipotle peppers are delicious, but usually a recipe calls for only one, so what a pain in the ass it is to have to open the can of about 20 when you only need one. Since I may have the touch of the food hoarding, I always save the can in the fridge in hopes within the week I will make something else with chipotle. (I always save my leftovers despite the fact I hardly ever eat them because I also have food safety OCD paranoia and I’m convinced that if they live in my fridge for longer than a day I will get food poisoned and die. This is also the reason I cook the shit out of chicken and it’s almost always as dry as a bone when I serve it.)  ANYWAY. Usually I have chipotles in the fridge until the can turns green and strange smell emanates from the fridge and I have to search all around for the source of it. But that will not be the case this week, because we are going to use them in this recipe.

This is the baked bean mixture for layering in a too-small pan.
Huevos Rancheros are a Mexican (or Tex-Mex, possibly) version of an egg breakfast. You can find them in any diner worth its salt in California, Arizona and New Mexico. I rarely see them up here in Canada. Each restaurant and family usually has their own take on them as well. For me, although I delight in a calorie-rich breakfast as much as the next person, they would be a little much for breakfast. Plus who wants to go through that kind of prep first thing in the morning? Not I. So, this is one of those breakfast-for-dinner types of things. Here’s what you need:

Bean mixture with cheese on the tortilla.
  • Flour tortillas (2/person)
  • Eggs (2/person)
  • Those damn chipotles (again, only 1)
  • Can of refried beans
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Grated cheese (About a cup, Monterey Jack is nice)
  • 1 diced tomato
  • Sour cream and salsa to taste
  • Fresh cilantro

First thing you need to do is preheat your oven to 375°. In a frying pan, sauté your shallot and garlic. When they are soft and fragrant, add the can of beans and your chopped chipotle. As you can see in the picture, I used a pan that too small, so ideally you won’t do that. I always do that. I’m always trying to stuff ten pounds of potatoes in a five-pound bag. Mummy used to scold me all the time when I lived at home and made pasta because I would try to use the smallest pot and make these massive amounts of spaghetti for myself. It’s like I feel I’m on a pan ration or something. But you probably don’t feel like that, you’ll be sensible enough to use the right size of pan. I also can’t judge spatial distances properly, which may have more with my inability to drive than my inability to pick the right pan, but who really knows.

Frying the egg, still on a pan ration. 
When your beans are blended, get out your baking sheet and put a tortilla on it. Spread the bean mixture all about and top with about a third of your cheese. Layer on the next tortilla and do the same thing. Now, most of the recipes I’ve looked at have about 4 tortillas, but I only used two because at some point you have to draw the line on carbohydrates. If you want though, go to hell with it and use four tortillas. No one is judging you. 

Once you’ve topped the second tortilla, pop it in your oven. In a frying pan, another one or the same one such as I did, fry up your eggs on the bottom, but don’t flip them. You’ll note that in the photo, I only have one egg. This is because I THOUGHT I had two eggs in the house, but I actually did not. (This is probably symbolic, I can’t let anyone in emotionally… Only one egg... Shells… I’m sure Sylvia Plath could do something literary with that.) One egg will do just fine for me anyway (but when will I learn to take out all the ingredients BEFORE I start cooking like Mummy says?!)

When your egg is cooked on the bottom, slide it out of your pan and onto the tortillas in the oven. Finish cooking the egg in the oven by baking it for about 5-7 minutes. Pull it out, top with last bit of grated cheese, the diced tomato, cilantro and the salsa and sour cream. Avocadoes at this point would be a great option as well, since they may be the most delicious things on earth. You can serve it with a side salad and sliced like a pizza. Or you can be like me and eat it like a great big pancake. Either way, enjoy! 

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