Quick, super simple and I’ll bet you have all of these ingredients waiting patiently for you in the kitchen cupboard. Huevos Rancheros is a classic Mexican breakfast (this is inspired by my new awesome South American friends from MexSoc and the salsa parties – so much fun, everyone should give salsa dancing a go…vino tinto helps!) by simply baking eggs in a homemade fiery chilli and tomato stew, traditionally serves on warm, soft tortillas. This really is the breakfast, brunch or supper of champions; a perfect breakfast for dinner winner.
By using tinned tomatoes, lots of garlic, fresh herbs and chillis you have yourself a cheap, flavorful and hearty dish, whipped up in seconds and this vegetarian version is surprisingly healthy to boot! I mean, feel free to add some chopped rich chorizo or salty pancetta to kick it up a gear, slices of avocado or a spoon of guac is gorgeous too. For me, I like it pretty traditional and simple, maybe some extra bacon but without the usual tortilla base, my English side calls out for a couple of toasty soldiers for that perfect dippy egg in the centre.
Serves 2 (for a big brunch or dinner)
- 2 handfuls of frozen baby leaf spinach
- 4 eggs
- 1 large handful of fresh coriander (or I love rosemary!)
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 100ml vegetable stock
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 BIG tsp of smoked paprika
- 1/2 green chili, sliced into rounds
- tin of chopped tomatoes
- Salt and black pepper
- Bacon, chopped
- Crumbled mild cheese (e.g. feta or mozzerella)
- Avocado, sliced
- Beans (e.g. pinto, black, cannellini)
Tomato sauce time! Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the sliced red onion (and bacon or chorizo if using). Fry for 5 -7 minutes depending on your crispiness preference, until softened. When you’re happy with it reduce the heat a little and add in the garlic, half the chilli slices and all of your spices to the pan and cook for another few minutes to release the flavours.
Next add the chopped tomatoes and the vegetable stock. Stir everything together and leave to simmer for 10 minutes over a low heat to thicken up the sauce. Meanwhile defrost the spinach in some boiling water and drain.
Once thickened give the sauce a taste to make sure it’s seasoned well and spicy enough, then add in the spinach (and I like to add some fresh rosemary) and stir well. Make indents in the sauce where you want the eggs and crack them in. Scatter over the remaining chilli slices and a crack of black pepper. At this point many people put the pan in the oven, but I prefer to just pop the lid on and poach the eggs for about 4 minutes (it’s much easier to make sure they are cooked through but still have runny yolks on the hob).
Scatter over any extra herbs and maybe even some cheese. Serve as soon as possible to preserve those runny yolks with some buttery toast and some dressed rocket salad leaves.