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Huevos Rancheros New Mexican style

Here's something to cook that's straightforward and easy to put your own spin on.  Huevos Rancheros - the traditional Mexican eggs dish.  'Huevos Rancheros' literally translates to 'Ranch eggs.'  It's a simple, classic dish you'll find all over Mexico and the US Southwest.  I usually have the basic ingredients on hand, so it makes for a nice breakfast.  There are probably thousands of variations - this is how I make 'em. 

I like New Mexican cooking, so I'm putting a bit of a New Mexican spin on these. 

Here's what you'll need:

Salsa - about 1 cup for each serving, any type you like or have on hand.  A more authentic New Mexican variation would probably use a salsa verde (green instead of red)
Eggs- 2 for each serving
Corn tortillas - 2 for each serving
Grated Cheese - 2-3 tablespoons per serving
Salt, pepper, other seasoning of your choice to taste
Oil for tortillas - 2 or so tablespoons
Butter - for cooking eggs as needed

Start by heating the salsa in a saucepan - I have about 2 cups heating here for 2 servings.

Next, put a bit of oil in the pan, heat it until it's fairly hot (I prefer cast iron, but you can use whatcha got). You don't need much - maybe a couple/few tablespoons.  Use whatever oil you like - I'm using canola oil here.

You'll need 2 corn tortillas for each serving.   I'm using blue corn (the New Mexican twist), but white or yellow will work.  Fry each tortilla a short time in the hot oil - maybe 10 or 15 seconds each side.  Don't fry them till crisp.  Just fry them till they're soft. Then drain them on paper towels.

Drain the oil from the pan.  I keep a container for old oil in the refrigerator that I collect the old oil in.  You can use a glass jar - something that is pretty much heat-proof.  This is a margarine pit.  Throw it away when it's full.   This way you aren't pouring oil down your drain.

Heat your broiler. 

Here we have the cheese and seasoning.  Monterey jack and colby cheddar would be a good choice.  Lately I've been using a pre-mixed and pre-grated "Mexican" mix of 4 cheeses.

The most basic seasoning would be salt and pepper.  I made a seasoning mix with salt, ancho chile pepper, chile molido, cumin, oregano, and black pepper. 

Next we fry the eggs.  I put about a tablespoon of butter in the pan after I emptied the oil.  You could also leave enough oil to fry in - your choice.

I'm making 2 servings, so I have 4 eggs.  Sprinkle them with the seasoning mix.

Fried eggs are traditional in this recipe.  I tend to like mine sunny-side up, but once over are acceptable!  I suppose you could scramble them as well.

When the eggs are ready, put two tortillas next to each other on an oven-safe plate.  They should be slightly overlapping.  Then top them with the eggs, and salsa.  If you want to be 'arty,' don't cover the yellows with the salsa.  Otherwise, anything goes.

You can experiment with some other seasoning here too - finely chopped cilantro or green onion tops would be good to sprinkle over the eggs as well.

Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs and salsa.  How easy is this? 

If you wish (and I do...), pass the plate under a broiler for 20-30 seconds until the cheese is melted.  If you choose to go the broiler route, keep in mind your eggs will cook a touch more under the broiler as well.

This step is optional - generally New Mexican restaurants will do this, but do as you like.  The cheese won't melt quite so evenly if you don't do this, but again, this is your choice.  I also like the fact that the plate is warm when you serve it.

The finished Huevos Rancheros. Time to eat!


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