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Sep 18, 2010 03:08 PM

Looking for the most delicious Huevos Rancheros recipe

I love Huevos Rancheros but its one of those dishes that I always seem to like better when I'm out for brunch because the recipes I've tried at home have been ok to good but definitely not "remarkable".

Does anyone have a terrific recipe?

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  1. I like to add a shmear of pureed black bean paste to the tortilla before I top them with the sunny side ups and red salsa. I like a little mexican oregano, garlic and onion and chipotle adobo in a fresh roma or plum tomato salsa, and salt. And usually I jazz up the black beans with chorizo fat and minced jalapenos. Cojita crumbles and cilantro and you are good to go. Texture and freshness of the tortillas is essential.
    What has been "missing" from your home made?

    1. Experimentation is probably the surest path to finding what you personally like. That, and asking how they make theirs in restaurants that serve the dish the way you like it.

      My personal prefrerence is to fry really good quality corn tortillas in a little oil first, but not to the point of getting crisp. Just very slightly "crusty.". A lot of recipes start with warm but unfried tortillas. I find fried tortillas hold up better when sauced. i use peanut oil, but plain old fashioned lard would be far more traditional. Three to four tortillas per serving, and when I'm making more than one serving just for me, I stack the fried tortillas to keep them warm while I do the eggs and salsa, then spread them on warm plates at assembly time.

      The salsa is probably the key you're looking for. Depending on the restaurant or cook, it can range from a plain old red enchilada sauce to a chunky heated salsa or just about anything between. If I'm cooking for others and want to do everything from scratch, I saute onions, garlic, tomatoes, (sometimes a tomatillo or two), chiles (whatever is in season, but I'm a gringa and I do take out the seeds and veins, thereby disarming them somewhat), some cilantro, a little epizote if I have some on hand, and a light touch of cumin. cook down to a nice coating thickness. Sometimes I have to add a bit of broth to get the right consistency. The longer you cook the more puree-like it becomes. If you like it chunky, don't cook too long.

      OR...! If I'm just cooking for me and I'm too hungry to wait that long, I just toss about a half a jar of Herdez "Salsa Casera" brand salsa into the hot frying pan that has a little olive oil already in it, add a few spices like a dash of garlic powder, and a pinch of ground cumin. Cook till no longer watery and pour that over the eggs atop the lightly fried tortillas and top with a dollop of sour cream or crema Mexicana and a sprinkling of cotija cheese over it all. And maybe some refried beans as a side, but not required.

      But sometimes things just taste better when somebody else cooks them! Your nose and taste buds aren't all desensitized from cooking. '-)

      1. could you describe your ideal?

        13 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          Hi there,

          Thanks for your help with this. When I love HR, the best way I can describe what work is that when I cut into that egg, and the yolk drizzles over the dish, the perfect flavour balance is achieved. The heat of the chiles are offset beautifully by the richness of the egg and the creaminess of the avocado.

          I've been spending most of my time trying to perfect the tomato sauce. When I read Caroline and Veggo's responses above, the first thing that jumped out at me was their reference to the "salsa" my quest for deepened flavours, I'm wondering if I've been focussed on making a spicy tomato sauce vs a salsa. Definitely something to consider. I also think I have a seasoning issue. I haven't used cumin or chipotle before so both of those are good suggestions. I love cumin in chile and I love chipotle in general!

          Based on what I've read above, I'm also now wondering how much my dishes may have been compromised by the fact that I don't have access to the greatest fresh corn tortillas. They're definitely not a common supermarket item in the Toronto area and when I do get them, they're definitely not freshly made. The last ones I picked up in Toronto were from Chicago.

          Finally, there's the cotjia cheese. It just isn't easy to access here. Even our St. Lawrence Mkt (picked as one of the top 25 mkts in the world by Food & Wine mag) doesn't have cotjia I typically substitute parmesan. I now wonder how much of a factor this may have played.

            1. re: cookingasshole

              Cotija is the Mexican hard cheese, crumbly and salty, but not the age of Parm. I wonder if Greek Mizithra would be a good alternative.

              1. re: paulj

                I know. I have some in my fridge now. I just suggested other mild white cheeses since parm would not mesh well at all. Goat cheese would even be better.

                1. re: cookingasshole

                  A question on the cheese - try a crumbled ricotta salata. Hard, crumbly, salty.

                  1. re: rcallner

                    That's not really a question but fry that ricotta up and it would be a great mild white cheese topping

            2. re: Breadcrumbs

              You do not need really fresh tortillas (it does help). You could always make your own with Masa Harina.
              As stated below it really is a very adaptable dish and you will see it prepared in many variations.
              Ranchero sauce (or salsa in Spanish) is a smooth cooked tomato and chili sauce with some chopped onion and roasted fresh chili added. Classically onion ,garlic,Guajillo chilis and tomato make the base and roasted diced Poblanos are the chopped that is added later.

              1. re: chefj

                Thanks chefj, I'll definitely roast my chilies next time.

              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                In Toronto, you can get freshly made corn tortillas at La Tortilleria, which has 3 or 4 different locations. Excellent and cheap. They also have a really good tomatillo salsa that would be great on HR.

                ETA: And you can probably get cotija at La Tortilleria, as well (at least at the St. Clair location, which seems to be the biggest). You can definitely get it at Emporio Latino or Perola in Kensington Market.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  TorontoJo thank-you! That's amazing. I really appreciate it. I'll go there tomorrow!

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    Ugh, it looks like their web site is being updated, so you can't get past the home page. But here's a cached version of the old locations page:


                    They have two different types of tortillas -- one white and one yellow. Both are corn. I think one has more slaked lime than the other. Get some of both and see which you prefer. They sometimes have a blue corn tortilla as well, but it doesn't do anything for me.

                    1. re: TorontoJo

                      TorontoJo you're terrific! Thanks so much, you have no idea how happy i am about this!!

                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Just a note, I used to live in Toronto and bought cojita in Kensington Market. Also, there used to be Mexican markets on West Eglinton, past the subway station.

              3. I've always thought of Huevos Rancheros as more of a techniqe and assembly rather than following a recipe. I think what you need to find is a salsa that you really like then simply heat it up and serve with tortillas and fried eggs. I usually add refried beans too.

                5 Replies
                1. re: John E.

                  +1, for me its eggs with green chile stew

                  1. re: andrewtree

                    Part of why I asked about the ideal is that these eggs can range from fried eggs with salsa (or half poached in salsa), to an elaborate assembly (fried tortilla, beans, eggs, salsa, cheese, guacamole, crema).

                    Wasn't there Rancheros Throwdown?

                    1. re: paulj

                      Here's the Throwdown video:


                      Good luck. My husband thinks that the platonic ideal of HR was at the Cactus Cafe in our town of Mill Valley, CA. It's not on the menu anymore, and the place has gone through a couple of owners, so it's long gone. Nobody else's lives up to it, so I don't even bother trying!

                      1. re: The Librarian

                        Thanks for that link L, that's terrific. I feel for your hubby, he's likely on a seemingly endless quest!

                      2. re: paulj

                        I agree with all of you and sense my biggest issue is the salsa. paul you did make me think more about the eggs though. I tend to poach them in the salsa but I'm now wondering if I've preferred them fried, and placed on top when dining out. Thanks.

                  2. This is a friendly reminder that huevos rancheros can be upgraded into the more substantial huevos motulenos with the addition of small ham cubes, and peas. They typically have the layer of black bean paste I describe in my post above, and are served with plantains. I keep the Goya brand platanos maduros in my freezer and just nuke them. The salsa should be fresh tasting, fairly thin and smooth, not too complex. Extra heat for those who want it is usually from a bottle of picante sauce.
                    I'm going to try it with some parma ham I have so I will leave the salt out of the salsa and keep it mild.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Veggo

                      Do they become huevos cubanos if you add ham, roast pork, and a milanesa? :)

                      (At least with tortas, sandwiches, the cubano has everything plus).

                      (milanesa is a breaded steak, always served with french fries).

                      1. re: paulj

                        I like everything about cuban sandwiches except the bread. Cuban bread sucks.
                        I could walk from my office in Lomas de Chapultepec DF for the best milanesa on earth. What a memory.

                      2. re: Veggo

                        omg....can I come over, right now!!!