When I was a kid, we spent a lot of time down in Baja, California. We would visit during long weekend trips and holiday vacations.
Looking back, it seems my parents packed my brother and me up and drove us down to Mexico every possible chance they could get.
Though I have many fond memories associated with our trips to Baja, quite possibly my most favorite involves a simple morning breakfast of Huevos Rancheros. I know, shocking it involves food.
One sunny morning, we all decided to make Huevos Rancheros from scratch. We had a bunch of fresh produce from the market and, for whatever reason, all felt like having Huevos Rancheros. We had ordered it several times in the local restaurants, but had never tried making it at home.
Now, this was before iPhones and Internet access (I know, crazy right?), so we couldn’t look up a recipe for Ranchera Sauce and there wasn’t a cookbook in the house.
It’s funny just how clearly I can see us all in our small Mexican kitchen that morning — getting excited about using the farm-fresh, vine-ripened produce as we we got closer and closer to the “right” ingredients. I think my brother and I even learned how to say the various ingredients in Spanish while we cooked.
Our Huevos Rancheros turned out to be amazing. Amazing. We were so proud of them and amazed at how closely they resembled what we had ordered in the restaurants.
Every time I have Huevos Rancheros now, they take me back to that wonderful morning with my family. It’s funny how I can’t separate the meal from that memory. I don’t think I’ll ever replicate just how good they were, but this recipe is pretty darn close. Why would I ever want to beat a memory like that anyway, right?
Makes 4 servings
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups tomatoes and their juices, chopped (or diced canned tomatoes)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp. jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (or ortega chiles, for milder heat)
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
8 corn tortillas
8 large eggs
To make the Ranchera Sauce, heat 1 tbsp. oil in medium pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, or until onion begins to soften. Add salt, cumin, pepper, oregano and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Add tomatoes, chicken stock and jalapeños and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove cover, add cilantro and cook an additional 5-8 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and/or pepper, to taste.
In a small skillet, add 1/2 tsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 tortilla at a time and cook on each side until golden brown, about 30-45 seconds per side. Keep warm by wrapping in paper towel while you cook the eggs.
Heat remaining 1/2 tbsp. oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggs to the pan and lightly season with kosher salt and pepper. Fry eggs until the egg whites no longer giggle on top and turn white. Cover pan with lid and cook additional 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until eggs are cooked sufficiently (If you would rather your eggs over medium, just flip the eggs over on their yolks and remove from heat after 1 minute).
To plate, place 2 tortillas next to each other on the plate and top each tortilla with a fried egg. Spread desired amount of Ranchera Sauce over the eggs.
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