Huevos Rancheros usually does not need a translation. “Ranch Eggs” doesn’t do it justice, anyway. Visualize two soft corn tortillas spread with well-seasoned refried beans (Frijoles Refritos), topped with two sunny eggs, and Salsa Ranchera, cilantro and crumbled fresh cheese. Carry your visualization through to reality and you will have in front of you what is probably the most requested breakfast in Mexico. If you just made Salsa Ranchera with me a few days ago and still have some in the fridge, and if you have left-over Frijoles Refritos also in the fridge, you are more than halfway to having this popular, authentic breakfast on the table.
The key to making Huevos Rancheros is preparation, also known as mise en place. With everything heated, measured and chopped, you are ready to sit down and eat five minutes after you start cooking the eggs.
Huevos Rancheros serves 2
- 1 cup Salsa Ranchera, heated
- 1 cup Frijoles Refritos, heated
- 4 very fresh eggs
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 corn tortillas
- vegetable oil for softening and warming tortillas
- 3 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco,or cheese of your choice, such as Monterey Jack
- chopped cilantro for garnish
- Heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. When butter is no longer foaming, cook eggs sunny-side up.
- While eggs are cooking, heat 2 teaspoons of oil for softening tortillas. Cook each tortilla 30 seconds per side. You may need to add more oil. Blot on paper towels. Do not overcook, otherwise they will become leathery.
- Place two tortillas on each plate. Spread each tortilla with about 1/4 cup of hot beans. Top each tortilla with one cooked egg, salsa, cheese and cilantro.
In Mexico, Huevos Rancheros are served stacked like pancakes.
- For a quick version, you can always use commercial salsa and canned refried beans, but I don’t recommend them if you want an authentic dish. Make the salsa and refritos the day before, and you will have Huevos Rancheros ready in minutes.
- If four pans on the stove at once seem daunting to you, heat the salsa and refritos in the micro-wave oven, and keep covered until needed.
- Some recipes call for poached eggs, probably because of their perfect roundness, provided you know how to properly poach an egg. No Mexican cook I know poaches eggs for Huevos Rancheros. They would probably find this idea laughable.
- Cheese is optional, and not always served on traditional Huevos Rancheros. Actually, chopped cilantro is not used, either, if we are talking Mexican tradition, but I can’t break my habit of garnishing everything. It’s not a bad habit — the eyes see before the tongue tastes.