Take your own crack at breakfast
The flavors and textures of this southern mainstay are irresistible. In its most basic sense, it’s simply eggs, served with a tortilla. But that’s not really any fun is it? The versatility of this dish is endless, so don’t be afraid to experiment! I prefer the more gourmet (aka time consuming) version, but it’s completely customizable to fit your own cooking schedule and skill level. // by Lauren Yarborough Nikolas
I prefer my eggs scrambled, but if you do not, just empty the pan of the veggies and add them after the eggs are cooked to your liking. I usually make huevos rancheros to use up all those little bits of vegetables left over from other meals. You will need:
- 1/2 bell pepper
- 1/4 medium onion, or a hand full of chives
- 1 medium ripe tomato
- 4 mushrooms
- Pickled, or raw jalapeño (optional)
- 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese and fresh cilantro for topping
- 6 eggs
- 2 Tbs. milk or water
Slice and dice all the veggies to a palatable size, and sauté in a skillet on medium heat with a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil. Whisk eggs with the milk (or water) and a pinch of salt, and add to the skillet when the vegetables are soft. Stir and whisk constantly until all is cooked through. You can even add a few tablespoons of your favorite salsa for some extra avor.
HATCH CHILI SAUCE
If you do not have time to tackle this delicious step, salsa works well. I prefer Mrs. Renfro’s of any flavor, available in Kessler’s “ethnic” food section. Any left over chili sauce can be stored in zip-top baggies in your freezer for quick enchiladas, or to add to a pot of chili. You will need:
- 7 dried hatch chilies (available at Walmart)
- 6-7 cups of water
- A few pinches of slat
- A clove of garlic
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- A small blender or food processor, wire whisk, large pot
Remove the seeds and simmer dried hatch chilies in the 6-7 cups of water for about 30-40 minutes. Once softened, scoop out the chilies and put them in a blender with some of the water from the pan (reserve any remaining water in a separate bowl) then blend with a few pinches of salt and the garlic. Let the blender run for about 3 minutes to ensure the chili’s exterior skin will not leave any unsavory shreds in your otherwise smooth sauce. In your pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil and some of the reserved chili water. Then whisk in flour. Slowly pour the chili puree into the pan, and whisk until it reaches gravy consistency. You can add a little more flour if it seems to be taking too long.
Fresh hot flour tortillas are my absolute favorite things! They are free of additives, preservatives, and require only a tortilla press (available at Target or Walmart) and a bowl, a few basic ingredients, and maybe a little practice. In a pinch, of course, the store-bought versions are perfectly fine. You will need:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- About 1 cup of warm water
- Tortilla press (or rolling pin), damp towel, two cloth napkins, mixing bowl
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Gradually stir in the warm water, just enough to make a crumbly dough. Work the dough in the bowl with your hands until it all sticks together and forms a ball easily. Add a little water to any dry spots if need be. Next, divide the dough into 12 balls and let rest under plastic wrap or a damp towel for about 15 minutes. Preheat your skillet on medium heat about 5 minutes before the rest time has expired.
After the rest time, you can flatten the ball of dough with your hands and roll it out with a rolling pin until it’s about 9 inches around, rolling from the center to the edges so that it does not get too thin in any one spot. Or, if you’d like to go the easy route, put the ball of dough in your tortilla press! Peel the dough carefully o the rolling surface and lay it evenly in the pan. It should only take a few minutes on either side, but feel free to check it frequently until you get the hang of it. Repeat these steps until you have a plate full of fresh tortillas! I usually set mine on a cloth napkin to avoid condensation, and cover them with the second napkin to keep them hot.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
Simply scoop the huevos on a plate, drizzle with the chili sauce, top with Monterey Jack cheese, and garnish with your cilantro. Serve alongside the fresh tortillas and be prepared to feast. I’ve never met one person who did not love this dish. It’s so substantial, I’m sure no one would complain if it were served for any meal of the day.