Cookery Column Week 4 – Huevos Rancheros

Pablo Aran Terol 3 June 2013

Huevos Rancheros is a Mexican breakfast dish, but I could eat it at any time, any day. It is particularly good if there is alcohol involved (be it hungover or drunk), so, next time you wake up next to a lovely person, cook this for them and you know they’ll want to see you again. As Anthony Bourdain said about cooking, ‘It can be, at times, the purest and most unselfish way of giving pleasure (though oral sex has to be a close second)’.

And on that note, let’s get to it. This dish has three components: a spicy tomato sauce, a bean puree and fried eggs. For the sauce, just add one sliced onion to a pan with a dash of oil, and whatever chillies you have depending on how spicy you like your food. Cook until soft and add a can of chopped tomatoes, seasoning with salt. I normally make quite a lot of this and keep it in the freezer for convenience. Let it cook while you prep the rest.

In another pan fry a small diced onion and 3 minced cloves of garlic until soft. Add some cumin, a bay leaf and a can of drained and pureed beans. Cook it on low heat until it changes colour, stirring frequently because it sticks a lot.

And now for the assembly. Take a pan and place a tortilla (do yourself a favour and get corn) over high heat until it blisters on both sides. Place on a plate. Spread a couple of spoonfuls of the tomato sauce over the tortilla, with a big dollop of the bean puree. Add two fried eggs on top (runny yolk is compulsory), some chopped coriander leaf and crumbled feta. Serve with some hot sauce; I think the vinegar in it works very well. Just trust me on this, it sounds a little weird, but it’s incredibly good.

There is a version of ‘tomato sauce and eggs’ in almost every culture, so look around. You have a version of this in Spain, Italy, North Africa… and really all it takes to go from one to the other is changing the spices and ingredients of that particular culture. The cool thing about cooking is seeing those patterns so you can easily pick up a new recipe or change it to your liking!

Ingredients:

2 onions

Can of tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic

Chillies (if you can get your hands on some chipotles use them, especially if they are the canned-in-adobo-sauce kind, otherwise whatever you like or are able to find. And remember, the seeds are where most of the spiciness is, so watch out)

Teaspoon of cumin

One bay leaf

Can of red kidney beans (pinto if you can find them)

Fresh coriander leaf

Eggs

Feta cheese (you would normally use something like cotija, but feta does the trick)

Tortillas (corn are best)

Pablo Aran Terol