Ranch-style eggs (Huevos rancheros)

This is the best-known breakfast egg dish in Mexico and makes a fabulous weekend brunch
By Rick Stein
Ranch-style eggs (Huevos rancheros)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • sunflower oil, for shallow frying
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 serrano, jalapeƱo or medium-hot red Dutch chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes

For the corn tortillas (makes approximately 12)

  • 250 g masa harina, (maize flour)
  • 325 ml water

For the refried beans (optional)

  • 350 g dried black, pinto or red kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 large pinches dried red chilli flakes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 40 g lard
  • 3 tbsp finely grated cheddar cheese

Method

1. For the retried beans, drain the beans and put them into a large pan with the chilli flakes, onion, garlic and bay leaf. Cover with lots of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for anything up to 2 hours until tender. Drain, discarding the bay leaf and reserving the cooking liquor. Heat the lard in a large frying pan, add the beans and mash them into a rough paste with a potato masher leave some of the beans whole to give them a better texture. Stir in the Cheddar cheese and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently and adding a little of the reserved cooking liquor now and then, until you have a thick, creamy paste you might not need to add it all. Season to taste with salt, cover and set aside.

2. For the tomato sauce, soften the garlic and onion in the oil without browning them. Add the chillies and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and simmer until slightly reduced and thickened you want a pourable sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. For the tortillas, put the masa harina, a good pinch of salt and the water into a bowl and mix together into a slightly moist dough. Mould the dough into 25g balls. You need to line the tortilla press with a couple of 15cm squares of polythene or baking parchment. You'll soon get the hang of pressing them out and peeling the liner away. Cook in a dry heavy-based frying pan for about a minute on each side until lightly coloured with little brown spots. Wrap the tortillas in a tea towel and keep warm.

4. When you are ready to serve, gently reheat the tomato sauce and the retried beans. Heat some sunflower oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Break in the eggs and fry to your liking, spooning a little of the hot oil over the yolks as they cook. Slightly overlap 2 tortillas in the centre of each warmed plate and put 2 of the eggs on top. Spoon a generous quantity of the sauce over and around the eggs and serve with the rest of the tortillas, some good coffee and a bowl of refried beans.

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