This classic Mexican breakfast includes a fried egg atop a crispy tortilla with salsa. My kosher huevos rancheros use corn tortillas and have cheese and refried beans, too. Instructions for making your own easy salsa and beans included in the recipe.
Even here in L.A., huevos rancheros are not an item I’ve encountered on the menus at kosher restaurants. Which is too bad, because it’s easy to make this wonderful Mexican breakfast kosher. All you need is vegetarian refried beans and you’re good to go; cheese is no even an essential element, though a good one, and we’re going to use it. Some versions of huevos rancheros include sausage, and you could actually make this as a great meat dish, omitting the cheese of course, then adding kosher chorizo and schmaltz in the beans. (Okay, now I need to try that…)
I suspect that huevos rancheros has its origins in leftovers—leftover tortillas from the day before, a bit of salsa in the fridge, and the last of the refried beans. If you have those around from a Mexican meal, they can be repurposed to full glory in huevos rancheros. If you don’t, however, the dish does have a few elements that you need to make. All of them are easy and come together in around half and hour. You can also shortcut the recipe by using prepared salsa and/or canned refried beans. And if you’re looking for a quick, one-pot, skillet version, try my shakshuka Angeleno, which marries the technique of shakshuka with the flavors of huevos rancheros.
There’s a few items you’ll need to make this recipe. One is a cast-iron skillet, because nothing will crisp your tortillas or eggs as well. You’ll want a lid for frying the eggs, but you can repurpose any pot lid from your other pots to go on top of your cast iron. You also need a blender with a smallish jar for making the salsa (I use a NutriBullet), plus an immersion (handheld) blender for mashing the refried beans.
Making easy, kosher refried beans
Start off your huevos rancheros by making quick refried beans. Like most good things, they begin with fried onions and garlic. A bit of chili powder for flavor, salt of course. Then the beans go in to get heated through. Finally, use an immersion blender to puree the beans right in the
Making a quick blender salsa rojo
Although properly speaking you’d start off this salsa by roasting tomatoes, my shortcut is to use canned fire-roasted tomatoes. Just stick the whole can in your blender jar along with a quarter onion, fresh cilantro, and salt, then blend till mostly smooth with a bit of texture. You can add jalapeño if you like heat—a quarter for mild heat or a whole for spicy. A blender with a smaller or medium-sized jar will work better here; I use the larger cup of my NutriBullet.
Frying the eggs
The fried egg that goes atop huevos rancheros is, ideally, crispy with a runny yolk. Your cast-iron skillet will crisp it up, and covering the eggs halfway through will set the whites on top while keeping the yolk runny.
Assembling the dish
Once you have all the elements made, throw each tortilla in the skillet, adding more butter if needed, and crisp it up on both sides. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with jack cheese. Top that with a generous amount of refried beans, then a big dollop of salsa. Finally, plunk the egg on top and sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
Huevos Rancheros (dairy)
- Cast-iron skillet
- Blender with small to medium jar
- Immersion (handheld) blender
- 4 corn tortillas
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/4 cup cilantro – chopped – you'll need another 1/4 cup for the salsa, 1/2 cup total
Quick refried beans:
Quick salsa rojo:
- 1½ can fire roasted tomatoes (1 can) – 440 g
- 1/4 onion – reserved from making the refried beans
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 tsp salt – or to taste
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
Quick refried beans:
- Finely chop the onion, reserving a quarter for the salsa. Heat the olive oil in a small pot. Add the onion and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minutes more. Season with salt and chili powder. Cook for another 30 seconds.
- Add the drained beans to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for a minute, then remove from the heat. Set aside to cool slightly before pureeing with an immersion blender, right in the pot.
Quick salsa rojo:
- Combine the chopped quarter onion, cilantro, fire-roasted tomatoes, and spices in a blender jar. Blend until smooth with a bit of texture remaining. Set aside.
- Heat a small amount of olive oil and butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Crisp the corn tortillas on both sides. Place each on a plate.
- In the same skillet as you fried the tortillas, add one egg per serving. Cook over medium heat, undisturbed, covering halfway through so the egg cooks on top.