Huevos RancherosY'all may remember how I feel about eggs and how I try to incorporate them into my diet for breakfast most days. I love them pan fried and scrambled and I sure do love a good pan omelet.
I use these microwave egg cookers much more often here lately, and even the grandkids love a ham and cheese omelet made with them. It's a favorite gadget called "Easy Eggs" and it really makes omelets easy for sure. I use this several times a week!
For a two egg omelet in one of these, I beat in two eggs with a splash of half and half, salt and pepper, and some diced ham. Occasionally, I like to add some onion and bell pepper too that I cook first with a dab of butter. Microwave the eggs on high, with the lid and vent closed, for about a minute and 20 seconds in my 1000 watt microwave, then I open and top with cheese and close until the cheese melts.
You sure can't beat it as a time saver, especially on those busy mornings, and like I said, the grandkids love omelets done in these! You might be able to find them at a local kitchen store that sells Sistema products, but I just ordered mine from Amazon. Y'all know how I love me some Amazon!
I also had the opportunity to try Eggland's Best eggs for these, and I admit, Eggland's are a tad bit more expensive than the store brand eggs I usually buy, so I was excited to give them a try! I'm glad I did because I buy them more regularly now, but as many eggs as I eat, I've also thought of raising some of my own backyard chickens.
Most residential subdivisions now allow a limited number of backyard chickens, but not roosters, provided there are no complaints from the neighbors. From what I've seen around the net while researching the subject, however, unless you're a farmer who sells your eggs, it sure seems that an awful lot of folks spend a goodly amount of money for the hobby of raising chickens.
They also seem to end up unable to use up all of the eggs, and then have so many, that they end up giving away the majority of their eggs! Not a very good ROI if you ask me, but that's just my business background speaking I guess. Probably helps to keep the peace in the neighborhood I reckon, if you're in suburbia like we are. Neighbors are probably less likely to complain if they're the recipient of fresh eggs!
But then again, there's the constant worry of predatory critters, like raccoons, who would love to eat your chickens, and I have those, plus possums (squirrels and a few yard turtles too) around here. My Elly May legacy has apparently continued at the new house I suppose! I'm already stressing over a stray cat who has learned that I have many bird feeders, visiting my yard when I'm not looking and leaving behind a pile of feathers as evidence, poor babies. That's upsetting enough, nevermind chickens that you get to know on a personal basis!
While eggs really are a nutritional powerhouse overall, the patented, vegetarian, all natural hen feed used by Eggland's Best, results in eggs that have a boost in the vitamins and nutrients we need to stay healthy. Compared to regular eggs, Eggland's Best eggs have 50% more Vitamin A, 4 times more Vitamin D, 75% more B12, 10% more riboflavin, 25% less saturated fat, and 3 times the levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Even better, these eggs actually have a noticeable boost in flavor that I was very impressed with. They really are a tasty egg!
As usual on my blog, this Huevos Rancheros recipe is not intended to be "authentic," but rather a Tex-Mex, American variation of a popular Mexican dish. Apparently the meaning behind the words equates to "rancher's eggs," said to have often been served for mid-morning breakfast on Mexican farms. It is usually represented by an egg, almost always fried, though some folks also poach them, served over fried corn tortillas with a spicy salsa. Everything after that is open to interpretation.
I've used refried beans, avocado, cilantro and cheese on mine. I've had trouble with keeping my cilantro growing so I found these dried leaves and keep it on hand now. I have been working to enjoy cilantro added to dishes, but it has been slowly growing on me so it's taking some time. I'm one of the folks who it gives off a "soapy" taste to. I have to admit, after using it more often, that seems to be fading.
Canned tomatoes work fine here, and I really like these with Rotel, but I started my recipe with some of my fresh garden tomatoes, which I had slow roasted in the oven in advance, along with some onion and garlic, then I just pulsed it in my Vitamix a couple of times. Slow roasted tomatoes are great to use anywhere you would use diced tomatoes, or even tomato sauce. I love using that method, especially with the tail end straggler tomatoes, or the ones that have been hanging around on the counter a little too long and started to wrinkle.
My backyard veggie garden, though small, was very generous this summer! I actually got plenty of tomatoes to eat, and some to put up too! This was the first year in many years that I had loads of tomatoes from just three plants, and the cucumbers were so abundant I had trouble consuming them all. I credit SmartPots for the success and I'll definitely be picking up another big bed for next summer for sure.
If you're starting with fresh tomatoes, you'll want to peel them, and I highly recommend a soft skin peeler for that process. I don't boil them ever anymore since getting that gadget, but if you don't have one, just use the usual method of boiling the tomatoes until the skin cracks and peels away. This is actually what happens with the oven roasting process too - once roasted, you can just squeeze them out of their skins.
To make the salsa, I only needed to add a bit more onion to the skillet, along with the peppers, a few seasonings and a can of chopped green chilies.
As far as hot peppers go, you can use whatever you like, tame or fiery. I keep mine fairly mild because I don't like a huge amount of heat. I also like to use the tamer pickled jalapeno because it's a pantry staple that is always in my fridge, and I wait to add them once I've sauteed the raw onions and peppers. Certainly use fresh jalapeno, or whatever other fresh hot peppers you like, adding them in with the sweet bell pepper.
We're also doing a light fry with the tortillas, just enough to crisp up the outside edges but leaving them pliable enough in the center that you can slide a knife right through them. You can save yourself a bit of fat and calories if you prefer, by using butter flavored, non-stick cooking spray, instead of butter or oil for both the eggs and the corn tortillas and you can bake the tortillas as well.
A layer of beans is optional, and I do like to add that sometimes. Canned beans are a pantry staple in my house and I try to always keep some Northern beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and black beans on hand all the time. They are high in protein and add fiber, making them a great filler and extender for many dishes. Unfortunately, canned beans, while convenient, are also notorious for being high in sodium, but, did you know that the process of simply draining and rinsing them, will rid them of nearly half of the sodium level? And, just so you know, it also helps to reduce some of those troublesome, gas-causing sugars too. I like these with a layer of warmed, refried beans on the bottom too when I have some.
Crema, a Mexican version of crème fraîche, is often used to finish, although sour cream thinned down with a tiny bit of milk will stand in, or can be omitted altogether. If I have avocado in the fridge, I like a few slices added and just a sprinkle of shredded cheese.
So yes, admittedly, there are a few steps to this dish, taking a little bit of coordination to get this all going and serve everything hot, and probably making it more of a weekend breakfast, or breakfast for dinner kind of meal. Mise en place as they say, so make sure you have everything ready to go before you start and make what you can ahead, like making the salsa and frying the tortillas first. They are worth it and if you make them often enough, you'll get enough practice to be a pro at it. If you have plate chargers this is the place to use them. Otherwise, it helps to warm serving plates in the oven to keep things hot.
Now... I'm guessing someone is liable to say, pick that thing up and forget the fork and knife! Well... I do love a good tostada - a tortilla, fried hard, topped with refried beans, taco seasoned ground beef, and all the taco toppings - it's one of my favorite Tex-Mex meals, and I'm sure to eat that with my hands. It's a little bit harder when you're trying to eat huevos rancheros that way, with all that salsa and an egg, so I recommend serving these with a fork and knife. Use that knife to slice into the hopefully loose yolk of your fried egg, so that it spills out and mixes in with the avocado and salsa. Now that's some goodness right there y'all.
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Recipe: Huevos Rancheros - Rancher's Eggs©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 30 min | Yield: About 6 to 8 servings
For the Salsa:
For the Huevos:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno (I use pickled)
- 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
- 4 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes, retaining all juices
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons)
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1/4 inch cooking oil (canola, vegetable)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 large eggs
- Dash hot sauce
- 2 or 3 small avocados, sliced
- Mexican Crema or sour cream, for garnish, optional
- Crumbled queso fresco or shredded cheddar cheese
- Additional chopped cilantro, for garnish, optional
- One lime, cut into wedges, optional
- Hot sauce, for the table
Melt butter in a skillet and saute onion, bell pepper and fresh jalapeno over medium high heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic; cook another minute. Add the green chilies, tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a steady simmer and cook about 30 minutes, or until thickened and reduced. How long will depend on how much juice you have from the tomatoes. Remove from heat, stir in lime juice and cilantro. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet to 350 degrees F. Slide a tortilla in, cook for about 12 seconds and using tongs, turn and continue frying until lightly browned around the edges, but still soft in the center. Drain on several layers of paper towels. Add butter to the skillet oil, crack eggs into oil and fry, 4 at a time, cooking to desired level of doneness. Set aside.
To build, plate two tortillas per plate, topping each with approximately 1/4 cup of the salsa, sliced avocado, one egg, sour cream and cheese. Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce at the table.
Cook's Notes: Substitute your favorite chunky commercial salsa if you prefer. May also add a layer of warmed refried beans, smashed pintos or black beans to the tortilla.
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©Deep South Dish
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Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however, as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for a free carton of Eggland's Best eggs. The recipe is original and opinions stated herein are my own, unsolicited opinions.
Chicken photo copyright: Elenathewise / 123RF Stock Photo