with EL CHAVO!
to make Huevos Rancheros!
(And how to make Vegan Huevos Rancheros as
It seems a bit wrong that I should share my version of this dish with
you all, considering that I've spent many weekend mornings
critiquing/praising the variety of examples available in Los
Angeles. It almost seems smug, as if I assume this the best way to make
them. I don't think I'm that pretentious. If you've read any of my
previous cooking classes, I've always said that you need to alter
things to your liking, to vary the ingredients so they reflect what
your palette wants. Well, this is me telling you what I like, how I
know Huevos Rancheros, how I prefer them. As you can plainly see, they
are very basic. And that's just how I like it!
There's tons of recipes out there that throw in all kinds of stuff into
this dish, but I'm just going to focus on the basic elements that I
think are crucial. If you want to make an abomination, head over to
youtube for an endless list of items you can use to be "creative". But
is more. What I do have to offer over other HR recipes is that I'm
not going to tell you to open up a jar of salsa, we are going to make a
fresh salsa ranchera that will be easy to make yet have a complexity of
flavors you rarely experience even at restaurants. As you can see
above, I've gathered my ingredients which this time around includes 1/4
white onion, 3 ripe roma tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, 2 dry chile
guajillos, 1 dry chile morita, and 2 fresh jalapeños. I was going to
use 2 serranos instead but the ones I had in the fridge had turned
black and had taken on that rotteny smell I know so well. You open the
bag, and you just know they've turned. I usually buy quite a bit of
them as I use them regularly and they are so cheap: my last receipt has
a bag of maybe 30-35 of them listed at just 38¢! I can afford to let a
few go bad. So we change up our ingredient list on the fly, we work
with what we have.
Ok, let's get started! First we start boiling a pot of water cuz we
will need that soon. Then we lightly toast the de-stemmed, de-seeded,
de-veined dry chiles on a comal to bring out some of the great aromas
and oils that they hold. If you wanted to you could just char all the
fresh items as well on the comal (don't burn the dry chiles though) and
make your salsa like that, I've done that before and it makes for a
good variation. For now, lets stick to the basics. After you toast the
chiles (around 10-15 seconds on each side) you will throw them into the
...and once it has a good boil going you can turn the heat off and let
them soak/soften for around 20 minutes. Go throw out the trash or iron
your clothes, its not some time sensitive affair. Just give the lil'
chiles the space to get ready for you!
Once you've done your waiting, turn the heat back on and bring to a
boil again. Throw in the rest of the ingredients, onion, garlic,
jalapeños, and tomatoes. You'll cook these for around ten minutes,
basically until the tomatoes start losing their skin.
If you have tongs you can try removing the skin straight from the
boiling pot. I guess you could just leave the skins on but its best to
try to get rid of them, otherwise the lil' bits make for an annoying
texture in the salsa, not unlike a hair in your food. At least I think
so. But maybe you like hair in your food, what do I know?
Since the dry chiles are the toughest, I like to blend them up a bit
Add some of the liquid to aid in the blending and to thin out your
salsa. Maybe about a cup. Yeah, that seems like a number. After the first blend, add the other
ingredients to the blender and give it a whirl. Oh yeah, add your salt
Blend it up! Nice and smooth.
Now we strain this sauce through a fine mesh strainer. Yes, its
See? Look at all the gunk yer not going to have to spit out! The good
stuff is in the bowl below.
Now we heat up a pan and add a bit of corn oil to it. I may have added
too much cuz I was trying to take a pic, but no big deal. We are going
to "fry" our salsa which is a very important part of the process: this
is how it all melds together into a delicious uniform sauce.
Once the oil is hot, just pour the good stuff in. Bring it to a boil
and then cook it down to a consistency you want. I had added too much
water so I will cook this a bit longer than usual, just gonna simmer it
until it gets a bit thicker. Give it a taste. Does it need salt? Maybe
a dash of black pepper? Might a sprinkle of nutritional yeast boost the
savoriness? You ask and answer those questions. And pretty much your
salsa ranchera is ready. If you've come this far you've already done
more than the average chump to get you to a decent plate of HR's. Some
folks like to add rajas of onions, chiles, and other stuff but I like
it just like this. Oh, and you can make your sauce with all kinds of
chiles, like arbol, California, ancho, whatever. Experiment to see what
While we simmer down our sauce, lets get started on our fried
tortillas. Don't be a jerk and try to get by using a tostada, you need
to make your own fried tortilla. And if you're just going to "warm up"
a tortilla, then you can go to hell as well. YOU NEED TO FRY YOUR
TORTILLA! Are we clear?
Good! I'm glad we came to an understanding. You do know how to fry a
tortilla right? No? Well, you just get some oil all nice and hot and
throw in a good quality tortilla, like those from El Dorado, "a product
to remember". Fry on each side until crispy, but not too crispy. Maybe
two minutes total? Use your judgement.
Place them on a towel to drain off the excess oil. Or don't.
Now we get to the other basic, the glory that is the huevo. Yes, we
will fry this little thing, in the same pan we fried the tortillas. The
runny yolk will contribute lots of rich flavors to our eating
experience. It's such a unique flavor I'm surprised someone hasn't come
up with a vegan version yet. But I'm okay with eating these presents
from our chicken friends. This egg was a gift from a human friend, she
knows someone that raises chickens.
You've probably heard it before, but here goes again: use the best and
freshest eggs you can find. The quality of these eggs is obvious, a
thick hard shell and a full bright yolk. I can't wait to have a place
where my landlord will let me have chickens, cuz I'd setup a little
coop right away. I grew up having chickens as pets, no cats or dogs
for me, and I really cared about my chickens. The fact that they gave
my family some eggs to eat was almost an afterthought. It sure beats
the "presents" dogs leave for you on the lawn! Can there be a stronger
argument for having chickens instead of dogs? Ha ha! I think not.
Use a spoon to splash hot oil on the top of the egg to aid in the
cooking. A bit of crispy, burnt egg whites is good, just don't overcook
Having said my piece about eggs, I understand that some people don't
want to eat them. I can live with that. I think the best subsitute is a
tofu scramble, no doubt vegans already have their favorite way of doing
that. I like my tofu scrambles too! Here I just got a piece of tofu,
crumbled it up, added some of the sauce, some salt and pepper, a bit of
nutritional yeast, and added it to some sauteing onions. Most of the
flavor is in the salsa ranchera anyways so you don't have to get too
crazy about your tofu scramble.
One tortilla per huevo please.
Or one scoop of tofu per tortilla, as the case may be! ;)
My plate of Huevos Rancheros, with the salsa roja, a bit of cilantro
and some chunks of queso panela that I had in the fridge. In a few
seconds I will have picked up the tortilla, folded it in half, and
taken a big bite of my HR's. It's a messy mess with no forks involved.
I will spare you the images. You eat however your dainty upbringing
The tofu HR (or is that a TR?) came out surprisingly good as well! Tofu
is a hearty food, its texture and density is comparable to a scrambled
egg. And once the blandness has been coated in a decent salsa, it
almost doesn't matter if there's an egg or not. Almost.
The aftermath. Damn, that was good!
If you'd like to comment on
this article, go