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Huevos rancheros with green chile stew

There's a current thread on the Boston board about the relative lack of huevos rancheros in town that held up the version as served at the Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque as the Platonic ideal of the dish. I pointed out that locals (which I was for many years, living only a couple blocks from the Frontier and eating there several times a week) almost always ordered them with the Frontier's signature green chile stew instead of the usual green chile. I've come up with my own adaptation of this recipe since moving to Boston about five years ago, using ingredients that can be purchased here easily enough if one knows where to look. Purchasing notes for Boston are at the bottom.

GREEN CHILE STEW:

1 lb ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oil, for frying
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup diced potatoes
1/2 to 1 cup chopped green chile, to taste
1 quart chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil to shimmering in a large saucepan or small Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ground pork and chopped onion, breaking apart pork into small pieces. When pork is no longer pink and onions are transluscent, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds or so. Sprinkle with flour and stir to combine.

2. Add potatoes and 1/2 cup green chile, reserving rest of green chile to add later if necessary. Add chicken stock and stir. Bring to simmer and cook, covered, until potatoes are just tender, 20-30 minutes.

3. Add salt and pepper, then taste. If desired, add additional green chile, no more than a couple tablespoons at a time and simmering for one or two minutes after each addition before tasting. Remember that each batch of green chile is different in both flavor and heat, and it's always better to start small and go bigger, because there's not a lot you can do to tame a volcanic green chile stew. Remove from heat.

HUEVOS RANCHEROS

Ingredients:
oil for frying
corn tortillas
eggs
shredded cheese (preferably a simple longhorn colby)
green chile stew

Procedure:

Heat 1/4 inch of oil in skillet. For each plate of huevos rancheros, fry four corn tortillas, one at a time, in hot oil until bubbly and pliable, 15-20 seconds maximum. Remove to draining rig.

Place four corn tortillas on plate (preferably one with a bit of a lip: Fiestaware is ideal) and top with two eggs cooked in preferred style. Me, I like over easy. Top eggs and tortillas with a large ladleful of green chile stew and a handful of shredded colby. Eat, preferably with a couple of warmed flour tortilas on the side. You can add things like sour cream and guacamole if you must, but that moves away from the spirit of Huevos Rancheros and into Huevos Foofy.

The traditional sides at the Frontier are beans and western-style hash browns. For the latter, fry shredded potatoes until crisp and top with green chile and cheese. For a good approximation of the Frontier's beans, open a can of Ranch Style beans and heat on stovetop, uncovered, cooking down the sauce and mashing about a third of the beans to thicken into a paste.

PURCHASING NOTES FOR BOSTON: When I don't have friends ship me bushels of chiles from Albuquerque, which I roast out back on the Weber and then steam, strip and puree before freezing, I buy cans of Hatch green chile from Whole Foods. Sadly, they don't carry the big cans, so I have to get a lot of the little ones.

Longhorn colby cheese: best I've sourced locally is available at Russo's, in the dairy case where they keep the fresh ricotta and the like.

Ranch Style beans: it amazes me that this product, which is apparently the only thing I would deign to eat for a good chunk of my childhood according to my parents, is difficult to buy up here. Whenever we pass a Wal-Mart Supercenter (nearest ones I know of are in Salem and Epping NH), I always run in and buy a dozen cans or so. When the stock is low, I order them online from Hometown Favorites: www.hometownfavorites.com

Corn tortillas: Cinco de Mayo brand is the only way to go. Available at Russo's and elsewhere, including our neighborhood bodega, La Favorita Market near the corner of Harvard and Farrington in Allston. They also sell La Fe flour tortillas, which are lovely, and Mexican Coke with sugar, which you don't need for this recipe but it's good to know.

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  1. Looks delicious! IDefinitely a candidate for dinner tomorrow night, but I do have a probably dumb question. Is 'green chile' a specific type of pepper, or can I just use jalapenos or poblanos? (I'm a bit intimidated by the vast selection of peppers at my grocery, I admit.)

    4 Replies
    1. re: dietfoodie

      "Green chile" is a generic name for certain kinds of chile pepper -- the ones broadly called New Mexican chiles, which look kind of like overgrown Anaheims -- that have been roasted, peeled, and chopped. Your profile says you're in Houston, so I bet that if you went into any Kroger or HEB, you would find canned chopped green chile on the shelf next to things like the picante sauce and taco shells. It's not only easier to use canned green chile instead of roasting, peeling and chopping fresh chiles from the produce section, it's actually a lot closer to authentic, because it's the proper New Mexican chiles instead of jalapenos or poblanos.

      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        Barmy!!!

        Even I could do this!!!!

        Following the discussion on the severe lack of anything vaguely resembling Mexican food, here in OZ, I have started cooking for myself.. and all of those ingredients, save the cheese (i'll use NZ colby), are readily available in OZ.

        Would the addition of sour creme (but NOT guac) make it Huevos Partly Foofy?

        Thank you!!!

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          Oh, okay! I think I know exactly what you're talking about (over by the Ro-Tel and canned enchilada sauce?) -- I've seen my mother-in-law use them in casseroles before. I think my initial confusion was mostly panic at the thought of picking the "right" pepper out of the six feet of fresh and dried peppers at the HEB!

          Can't wait to try this tomorrow! (Don't know how I've lived in Texas for seven years without ever once having huevos rancheros, either.)

          1. re: dietfoodie

            Right, those are exactly the ones I'm talking about. You'll be fine. Let us know how it turns out!

            If I didn't have a massive deadline that I'm well behind on staring me in the face, I'd probably make these myself tomorrow night!

      2. Okay, I might start worshiping you! Thanks for this - I thought my recipe was good, but this is going to be FANTASTIC. I've never done it with the stew. Thanks so much for the specifics sources too.

        (BTW - I order canned Hatch chilis and great enchilada sauce if I'm not making it from scratch from here):

        http://newmexicanconnection.com/catal...

        Thanks again for this terrific recipe!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Rubee

          Barmy, you've outdone yourself. Thanks so much for sharing. This will be on the plate, and right soon.

          1. re: Bob MacAdoo

            FYI, I placed an order to Hatch for some chilis and enchiolada sauce. Counting the seconds until the package arrives.

          2. re: Rubee

            Thanks for the link -- we'll be buying several pounds of frozen soon. I did end up making the huevos last night and I used our last batch of frozen from the 2004 crop.

          3. Thanks for posting BFP. I'm really enjoying the huevos rancheros thread on the Boston board and I agree with Rubee ... I might just start worshiping you now too.

            1 Reply
            1. re: yumyum

              Wow! Barmy, thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed yet easy to follow recipe....I can't wait to try it out!

            2. One thing.... you can't really call them Huevos Rancheros if they come with Green Chile stew... that is a different dish. The Rancheros in Huevos Rancheros refers to Salsa Ranchera which is a cooked melange of Onions, Tomatoes, Jalapenos / Serranos, Oregano & Black Pepper. Its like calling it Chicken Bernaisse but making it with Bechamel.... the French would declare war on you!

              20 Replies
              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                Take that up with the folks at the Frontier Restaurant. I'm just going by their nomenclature.

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                  Keeping in mind that the Frontier Restaurant is in Albuquerque, and that green chili stew as described in the recipe is decidely southwestern/New Mexican in influence, I'd say the appropriate nomanclature outside of NM probably would be "Huevos Rancheros estilo de Nueva Mexico" or some such. In Mexico I have seen 'huevos rancheros' made with salsa verde (not just the salsa ranchera El Nopal describes, though that is most common...but don't think I've seen it made with green chili stew, particularly not a stew with potatoes. See, to me, I am enough of a purist that even potatoes start to get it into the 'foofy' category.

                  Of course, it probably wouldn't be served with hash browns in Mexico either, not that I think hash browns are a bad idea.

                  Here is a simple recipe that I like:

                  http://www.globalgourmet.com/destinat...

                  best if you can find handmade, really high quality tortillas (but I don't make my own if I can't).

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    I have trouble with some of the NM variations as well. I had a chile relleno in Taos that was surrounded by a verrrry thick layer of some sort of crust - and then deep fried. It was also more doughy than the usual...more like a spongy doughnut.

                    But of course, I love something my father used to make using frozen tamales, canned chile and chopped up hot dogs, covered with cheese and baked until bubbly. We all have our peculiarities. I'm sure my father would never have tried to pass it off as a true Mexican dish...especially not with Hebrew National beef franks! I still make this and my husband lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvves it.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      I am puzzled by "some sort of crust - and then deep fried", as battered and deep fried is not uncomon with chile rellenos. The spongy variation is from stiffening the egg whites, and folding them into the batter. This is a more complex and difficult variation (IMHO, since I do it both ways). They can be bad and not worth eating if done incorrectly. They may buy a mix for this (with God knows what in it), to get the thick, spongy effect.
                      Chile rellenos can be deep fried, pan fried or baked and have or not have a coating. Here are three distinctly different ones from Fonda San Miguel, in Austin. One iis pan fried with batter coating, the red one is just baked from reconstituted, dried chile and the other is baked fresh chile with coating.

                       
                       
                      1. re: oakjoan

                        Will try to upload other pic... damn Chowhound's photo uploading process.

                         
                      2. re: susancinsf

                        Eat_Nopal, the Hatch brand canned Huevos Rancheros sauce is green chile based - it's a kind of puréed chile verde thing, with no tomatoes anywhere (but definitely tomatillos!). For a canned sauce it's pretty good; when Mrs. O was away a while back I made myself a delightful bachelor breakfast dish I dubbed Huevos Pescadores, with fried fish in there with the eggs and that sauce.

                    2. re: Eat_Nopal

                      There may well be as many recipes for huevos rancheros as there are Mexican cooks, but for a really easy and fairly authentic one, I soften three tortillas per serving in hot oil, fry two eggs per serving sunny side up, remove the eggs and put them on the tortillas, then dump a jar (or portion thereof) of Herdez "Salsa Casera" into the frying pan, heat till bubbly, pour over the eggs, top with a dollop of sour cream and serve with a side of refried beans. If you'd like, you can top the salsa with some crumbled Mexican cotija cheese, or even a bit of grated cheddar, but it's not required.

                      Herdez makes great salsa. Very authenitic, and it sure beats doing all that chopping yourself! I think I've been using it for close to thirty years. Since way back when it only came in small cans.

                      I've lived with one foot in Mexico most of my life and never heard of huevos rancheros made with green sauce or stew. Sounds like a restaurant's "signature dish." But if you're determined to have a green sauce, Herdez makes a great Salsa Verde. I would use the same method I use with the Salsa Casera.

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Green chile stew of this type is a very specifically central and northern New Mexico dish. You wouldn't likely find it anywhere else. No, the recipe does not make a traditional huevos rancheros, but in my estimation, it makes something better.

                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                          Green chile stew ranges a little further than that. Although I don't know if it crosses the borders into Old Mexico or Baja Oklahoma, you can definitely find it at the eastern and southern edges of the state (at the Do Drop In in Portales and at Carillo's in Las Cruces).

                          1. re: alanbarnes

                            You can find it there, but it's not omnipresent the way it is from Albuquerque upwards. And it definitely doesn't cross into West Texas: It barely even goes as far as Clovis.

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              Green chile stew can also be had at Martin's Capital Cafe in Roswell, and a mean bowl it is. Barmy is right, however, when he says the stuff is unknown in West Texas. The day GCS makes its appearance on the Llano Estacado is the day I open my restaurant and begin offering it.

                          2. re: Caroline1

                            If we're going to talk about jarred salsas, Fredericksburg Farms - Old San Antonio Tomatillo Salsa (with serrano peppers) is at the top of my list for over-easy or "up" eggs. (and off topic, their brand of Peach-Pecan BBQ sauce with grilled chicken is finger-lickin' good too)

                          3. re: Eat_Nopal

                            Zut alors, Eat Nopal! The French would declare war on you for calling it "Bernaisse" sauce --- with 2 SS!!!

                            I think BFP is talking about a local New Mexican dish with which the restaurant has taken liberties. Lots of NM dishes are like that. I like our Califa bastardizations better, but this dish sounds great!

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              Oy... Does no one get my point??? =) Salsa Ranchera is something that is well defined like saying Hollandaise... would someone mix Ketchup & Mayo and call it Hollandaise? No.

                              There are many egg dishes in Green Salsas / Stews... they are not Huevos Rancheros!

                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                Huevos rancheros just means country-style eggs. AFAIK they're always served on a corn tortilla with sauce over the top. But not necessarily salsa ranchera. They've got rancheros who live on ranchos in NM who eat green chile on their eggs and have been calling it huevos rancheros since long before you or I were around.

                                Bordelaise and bearnaise are both well-defined in French cuisine, and salsa ranchera is well defined in Mexican cuisine. But I think huevos rancheros is more like "fisherman's stew." No one recipe is less traditional (or authentic, if you will) because fishermen from another area use a different recipe. Even if the folks in that other area have something they call "fisherman's sauce."

                                PS--good to hear you're finding good comida on O'ahu. Careful, though--island food can be addicting. EatLillikoi just doesn't have the same ring...

                                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                  It's not that I don't get your point, it's just that I don't care.

                                  For the record, the Frontier Restaurant does serve what Eat Nopal would think of as a right, just and proper huevos rancheros, with salsa ranchera. No one ever orders it, because a) it's not great, and b) the signature dish of north central New Mexico is green chile stew and the Frontier's version of same is justifiably legendary. So no, technically, these are not huevos rancheros. But to get this dish at the Frontier, you have to stand at the counter and say "I want the huevos rancheros, but I want it with green chile stew instead of salsa ranchera." (Normally, the green chile stew is served in an enormous, vat-like bowl with a couple of just-off-the-cooker flour tortillas on the side.)

                                  So, no, technically, they are not huevos rancheros when served this way. But I fail to see why that matters. This is New Mexico, not Mexico.

                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                    But they are huevos rancheros, because that's what people have been calling them for a long, long time. You go into any cafe in NM and ask for huevos rancheros, and you're likely to be asked "red or green"?

                                    EN's argument is akin to claiming that "tortilla" is a misnomer for those round Mexican flatbreads made of corn or wheat flour. A tortilla was the name for a Spanish dish made of eggs long before Columbus got his commission. But the name got applied to something else entirely in the new world.

                                    Language changes over time and distance. And if somebody in California wants to start calling scrambled eggs with chorizo and potatoes "huevos rancheros" I'm going to argue with them, since there's no historical or culinary basis for that name. But once a term has come into common usage as a descriptor for an item, it seems not just futile but downright silly to claim that the item has been misnamed.

                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                      "EN's argument is akin to claiming that "tortilla" is a misnomer for those round Mexican flatbreads made of corn or wheat flour. A tortilla was the name for a Spanish dish made of eggs long before Columbus got his commission. But the name got applied to something else entirely in the new world."

                                      That is a pretty good point... actually that is the most compelling point for me to concede.

                                      What I was getting stuck on as that if you say Huevos a la Mexicana, Huevos Motuleno, Huevos Oaxaquenos, Huevos Poblanos, Huevos con Chorizo etc.,... there is fairly universal, widely accepted interpretation of each of those dishes... Huevos Rancheros fall in that category... but I guess the meaning can have regional variations and departures over time.

                                      Maybe we can agree on NM style Huevos Rancheros?

                                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                        It's always fun to see how cuisines evolve. And New Mexico seems to offer more recent developments than most other places.

                                        The state was pretty sparsely populated when my forbears settled there after the Civil War, and even two or three generations later there probably weren't many people who would have acknowledged such a thing as New Mexican culture or cuisine.

                                        But the mixing of people from a variety of backgrounds over the last 150 years has created a true melting pot that isn't really Mexican, Indian, or Anglo (hey, that's me!). And some bastardized hodgepodge food that's downright tasty.

                                        So Bill Richardson is Latino, and huevos rancheros can come with green sauce. But only in New Mexico. NM style huevos rancheros it is.

                                  2. re: Eat_Nopal

                                    See above. If the label SAYS "Huevos Rancheros Sauce" then obviously enough people believe it's so to make it so...since we are merely discussing an item of commerce, not a mathematical formula, and the definition requires only broad agreement to be accurate.

                              2. Barmy,

                                Finally was able to make your huevos recipe. Delicious! Thanks a bunch.